Teaching Examples

El País gets into the citizen-j game
April 24, 2007, 1:07 pm
Filed under: citizen journalism, hyperlocal, journalism, newspapers, online

El País of Madrid — which has one of the best newspaper Web sites in the world — has launched Yo, Periodista (I, Journalist), its own citizen journalism experiment:

Help us build ELPAIS.com. If you have witnessed any news, send it to us, and we will publish it. You can send text, photos, videos or documents to us. Now the readers of ELPAIS.com become journalists. [Translated from the Spanish]

Obrigado a António Granado.

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Online and up-to-the-minute: Virginia Tech shootings
April 17, 2007, 4:35 pm
Filed under: breakingnews, citizen journalism, journalism, online

Mathew Ingram (of the Toronto Globe and Mail) has posted a good summary and very well-chosen links to the peer production of news reports about the shootings at Virginia Tech yesterday.

While that phrase “peer production” usually is used to refer to a coordinated effort, such as the production of open-source software, I think it’s appropriate in this case, because the people posting what they knew online were participating in a widespread effort to share information.

I found the Flickr pool especially interesting. We did not have Flickr on September 11; this is new.

The Roanoke (Va.) Times is posting frequent updates online, and might be the best source for continuing news on this.

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Telling the whole world about citizen media
March 28, 2007, 1:02 pm
Filed under: citizen journalism, hyperlocal, international

Proponents of so-called citizen journalism want to maintain the momentum and spread the idea:

OhmyNews plans to establish a global network of international citizen media Web sites … while developing a global resource site of citizen journalism with relevant contents in the future.

The well-known Korean Web site (which is often touted as one of the most successful citizen journalism efforts anywhere in the world) dangles a free trip to Seoul as a carrot to entice people to research and write about citizen media in their home country.

OhmyNews would like to open up research into independent citizen journalism Web sites around the world and introduce them to our global readers. And we intend to conduct this research the OhmyNews way — open source and collaborative. For the successful implementation of this project, the participation of our international citizen reporters is absolutely required.

The article invites you to contact Todd Thacker, senior editor, or Jean K. Min, communications director of OhmyNews — but there is no contact info included.

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Knowing what “local” means
March 23, 2007, 2:34 pm
Filed under: citizen journalism, hyperlocal, newspapers

“Citizen feedback made me realize a few things about journalism in River Falls that others may want to know,” writes Debbie Griffin, staff writer at the River Falls (Wisc.) Journal.

She goes on to list 10 of those things, and they make good food for thought. My favorite:

As a community paper, we cover local, local, local people and happenings in River Falls and its surrounding areas: Beldenville, Martell, Clifton, Kinnickinnic, Troy and River Falls towns, and occasionally Spring Valley and Roberts. Sorry to deprive any hopefuls from our coverage of the Iraq war, high-level politics or the latest baby’s-daddy scandal.

My other favorite:

All media rely on their community’s eyes and ears to help them find important stories. The most important thing to most of us is when citizens speak about something or help substantiate the truth.

The rest are, as a guy eating fried chicken in a current TV commercial says, “all my favorites.” Go over to the River Falls Journal to read them.

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Training citizens to be journalists
January 13, 2007, 1:01 pm
Filed under: citizen journalism, international, journalism, online, participation

The Press Institute for Women in the Developing World “trains women in developing countries to serve as reporters and writers in their own communities.” This is where the rubber meets the road for citizen journalism — where people who have something important to say finally get a platform, a channel, in which to publish and broadcast.

Thanks to Robin Sloan at Snarkmarket, found via Martin Stabe.

Robin wrote that “a pilot program in Mexico is up and running, with citizen journalists there writing stories every month” and “a new program is slated to start in Nepal in March.”

I read a PIWDW story about abortions in Mexico that was well researched (and worthy of attention). Abortion is mostly illegal in Mexico, but that doesn’t prevent 850,000 abortions being performed there each year. Almost one-third of those result in the death of the woman.

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Another one bites the dust?
January 12, 2007, 8:34 pm
Filed under: business, citizen journalism, online

If you’re interested in the Backfence shakeup:

Backfence reorganizes amid revenue troubles (Lost Remote, Jan. 12)

Readers Comment on Backfence Downsizing (Local Onliner, Jan. 10)

Backfence CEO Resigns Amidst Downsizing (Local Onliner, Jan. 5)

And for historical interest:

Backfence.com Launches, Latest Hyperlocal Public Media Effort (paidContent, May 3, 2005)

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Getting their video on, in New Jersey
January 12, 2007, 3:02 pm
Filed under: audiences, citizen journalism, journalism, news, newspapers, participation, video

How’s this for attitude? “The television station New Jersey doesn’t have.”

At The Star-Ledger, a Newhouse newspaper in Newark, New Jersey, a new video site called TV Jersey features work by staff photographers and contributions from the public. That quote is the tagline for the site.

John O’Boyle, a 20-year staff photographer at The Star-Ledger, feels totally pumped about the new Web site. Rather than a sign that they’re trying to imitate TV, he says the site’s name (and the tagline) “plays off the fact that New Jersey has no television station and relies on New York and Philadelphia stations.” That’s the local angle so many news organizations are looking for.

Two REALLY interesting things about this new site: (1) The videos are all YouTube encoded! Share and share and share. Brilliant. (2) The site is built on Movable Type, a mostly blogging platform, which allows for easy posting (and searching) of new content.

The site also encourages users’ contributions in a very positive way:

TVJersey has no broadcast towers, no satellites. It doesn’t even have a studio. But it has you. And what you produce, we’ll promote.

In a frame at the foot of the home page, YouTube videos with the tag “TVJersey” are displayed. Somebody over there at The Star-Ledger apparently gets it!

O’Boyle wrote this to me in an e-mail:

There is a “video challenge” contest asking people to send in their videos on a specific topic. The current one is Valentine’s Day.

There is a [linked] list of upcoming area events [in the sidebar] that you might want to videotape. This feature taps into the newspaper’s vast database of local events.

Since much of the operation is automated, it does not require lots of manpower.

I will be keeping my eye on TV Jersey for sure.

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