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Posts Tagged ‘citizen journalism’

Is Grasswire, a “Real-Time Newsroom,” a Better Version of Reddit?

GrasswireIt’s no secret that the Internet is often a hotbed of misinformation in the wake of a breaking news event, particularly during horrible disasters involving multiple deaths, such as the Sandy Hook shootings. And social media is often a conduit for the rapid spread of fake facts and those terribly convincing photos that circulate around seemingly without end.

But a new service called Grasswire plans to be a “real-time newsroom curated and fact checked by everyone.” Covered by PandoDaily’s David Holmes recently, the Android app and website seeks to rectify all the wrongs people (including journalists) have Twitter have committed in spreading non fact-checked information on social media by ensuring it doesn’t keep happening. The platform is reminiscent of Reddit, Holmes notes — only Grasswire’s verification process is a bit more in-depth.

“…Instead of simply upvoting or downvoting, users can click “confirm” or “refute.” The confirmations and refutations stick with each post so that when the link is shared to social media, whatever factchecking is in place goes along with it. That way, even if a Grasswire link to a false claim is tweeted out or posted to Facebook, once its been refuted all subsequent retweets and posts will surface that factcheck,” Holmes explained.

Honestly, I think Grasswire’s idea is a huge step in the right direction. As more social media outlets surface, and user bases rise, citizen journalism is becoming more mainstream. On the one hand, it’s great. An engaged citizenry that reads and shares the news and seeks to inform their followers of what’s going on in their towns, states, country, the world?

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On the Media Asks Listeners to ‘Be the Journalist’ With Web Tool

otmOn The Media, the NPR podcast, is part media reporting, part commentary and part investigative journalism organization. And I’m not just saying that because the pledge drive is going on.

Sometimes they just fall into it. A few weeks ago, OTM producer Sarah Abdurrahman and her family were detained “for hours” at the US- Canadian border. She produced a piece about the ordeal that you can listen to here. On the most recent show, they followed up with more questions for the Department of Homeland Security — questions that are still unanswered.

So, OTM produced an online tool for listeners to contact their representatives on the relevant oversight committees and “shed light on the DHS.” There are supplied questions and fields to use to report back directly to OTM. You can see, and use, the tool below.

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Dispatch From Italy: Citizen Journalism and YouReporter Making Waves

imageDid you know that in Italy, to be a practicing journalist, you take exams and get certified? That’s what my Roman friend, a senior digital editor at one of the country’s largest publishing groups told me over lunch this week during my Italian holiday. It’s like being a lawyer, or an architect. And while the practice of certifying journos still stands, even over here where traditions are hard to break, the industry has been disrupted.

Italy is still a country in which practicing independent journalism is a political, and not just entrepreneurial, act. And still, YouReporter.it, a crowd sourced, video sharing news platform is widely used. Launched in 2008, the site has expanded with an app for both Android and iOS, and a text based news blog. Lots of “mainstream” news publishing organizations use videos or photos from the site, and all they have to do is use the logo and attribute the view to YouReporter.

When co-founder Angelo Cimarosti and his colleagues, Luca Bauccio and Stefano De Nicolo, started thinking about the site in 2006, bandwidth in Italy was weak, and hard to find. Smartphones had yet to saturate the market. So they started with a focus on photos, in addition to video. In fact, Cimarosti told me over the phone that when the earthquake in l’Aquilia hit in 2008, hundreds of photos were uploaded to the site; had it been just video based, YouReporter would have never gotten off the ground.

“You can start small,” Cimarosti told me over the phone. (All translations are mine)

“The success of YouReporter is about the small things, especially in a country like Italy, made up of small towns. People already have an outlet for the big news events — an earthquake, a cruise ship crash, even a big snow storm. What YouReporter users share and want to know about are the small things — suspended trash pick-up, the traffic sign on the corner that needs to be replaced.” Read more

The ‘Circus’ of Fashion Journalism and Niche Media

Whether or not you live in New York City, you are bound to be bombarded with fashion on some homepage this week, as #NYFW kicks off a month-long season of shows.

Like in general news publishing, the niche, elite world of fashion journalism has undergone some serious changes in the digital landscape. And it’s anxiety ridden. This past spring, Garage Magazine produced a short, 10 minute, video called “Take My Picture” anchored by the notorious fashion journo Tim Blanks. The piece examines the rise of the fashion blogger and “street style” photographers. It’s the same anxiety news hounds have about citizen journalists, but the elitism is ten fold. It’s fashion, after all.

Even the New York Times noted this week that the state of the fashion industry — which relies on fashion media as much as fabric — is reaching circus levels. Industry standards like Women’s Wear Daily, Harper’s Bazaar, W, and of course, Vogue are still kings of fashion content, but ‘good’ fashion blogs — the Andrew Sullivans, if you will — of fashion media, like Natalie Joos’ Tales of Endearment and Man Repeller are just as important sources for fashion news and features. But again, the idea of ‘good’ journalism is problematic.

Media commenter Jay Rosen wrote this month in CJR that journalism is defined by ‘awayness,’ as in “I was there, you weren’t, let me tell you about it.” In that sense, the Tumblr-fication of fashion media and street style is a good thing. The more the merrier. But it’s an interesting problem. In “Take My Picture,” Blanks seems to suggest that arming civilians with cameras and free blogging sites is bad for culture, in general. It cheapens the niche. It’s the same worry the general news publishing world has about Twitter and listicles.

I wonder what sports writers would feel about the locker rooms being opened up to just anyone? Or what political writers would say if the White House press briefings were open town halls that any blogger could walk into? 

 

Image via Mashable

The Problem With Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism is a lofty little term thrown around by interweb idealists.* This week, Trevor Knoblich wrote a column on PBS’ MediaShift blog asking “Can Citizen Journalism Move Past Crisis Reporting?”

No, no, it can’t. 

The first lonely comment under the article was from an editor of CNN’s iReport, championing the organization’s efforts to help citizens gather and report stories that are meaningful to them and their community. The idea is a noble one, and it’s executed pretty well. They give tips on good storytelling and provide free music clips you can use with your video. There’s even an Assignment Desk where editors ask for submissions on a given topic (this weekend it’s ‘Show Off Your Mom Tattoos’). 

It’s not that I am against any of the actually very good work iReport can curate. It’s that most of the contributions have the “not vetted” by CNN label which means they’re the equivalent of a YouTube video about your student debt, the plight of tipped workers, or, your mom tattoo.

Remember the editorial pages of your local newspaper? Read more

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