Individual reading: the 11 layers of citizen journalism

Finally, the answer that I have always been looking for is found in The 11 Layers of Citizen Journalism, a step-by-step approach in dealing with the changing landscape of journalism by integrating the professional with the amateur. Finally, all my optimism about the future of the industry has not let me down.

The ll layers can be seen like layers on a wedding cake, where the layers ultimately adds up to the ideal and perfect stage.

1) Opening up to public comment is the first baby step to integrating the community with the professionals, giving an interactive and new dimension to the newspaper. News are a whole lot richer with more input from the community that a reporter may have missed or have insufficient resources to find. Comments can be made for virtually everything such as classified ads, weather, obituary.
2) Citizens add-on approach allows citizens to add their personal experiences or information along with the stories to give a side bar full of stories!
3) Open source reporting is inviting the citizens to be part of your reporting process, in terms of research, interview questions, reporting and writing. Of course, credit them to maintain quality (we all have a capitalistic mindset)!
4) Citizen Bloghouse: Invite outstanding and prominent bloggers to blog for your news website so that you can maintain quality of blogs as well as draw online traffic to your website. Of course, this may break the rice bowls of professional columnists.
5) Newsroom citizens transparency blog: Have an online ombudsmen, he will respond faster to you.
6) The stand-alone citizen-journalism site: Edited version: let citizens blog with minimal editing, hence the news gathered can be more localized and specific.
7) The stand-alone citizen-journalism site: Unedited version: give the citizens freedom to blog and let them moderate themselves. Wash your hands off any unnecessary lawsuits just in case!
8) Add a print edition: Combine the best stories and photos and organize them into different sections like a newspaper and publish them, giving blogs a sense of professionalism and spurring the bloggers to work harder.
9) The hybrid: Pro + citizen journalism: Both parties work together to produce content on a news website.
10) Integrating citizen and pro journalism under one roof: Having both parties work alongside each other to complement the content of the paper.
11) Wiki-journalism: totally no editor-blogger relationship. Horizontal structure where everyone is an editor cum journalist.

However, this may seem like an ideal stage of journalism. But will it work?

Questions:
1) How will this form of citizen journalism work in countries with no free press?
2) How can truth be verified in the citizen journalist’s content?

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12 responses to “Individual reading: the 11 layers of citizen journalism

  1. Pingback: week 5 - blogs as citizen journalism « Social Technologies, Media and Politics

  2. This is a very interesting approach, I have a couple of ideas to address your questions. As far as question 1, the beauty of the internet is the ambiguity and even though people in countries with no freedom of the press aren’t reading you can bet others are, and it is those people who ma begin to put pressure on regimes to break down barriers to free press. As for truth, as we have discussed a little in class I think that truth will be determined by the viewer ship and how much returning traffic a site gets which will up its credibility and visibility in searches.

  3. Faith- good job summarizing the article! I definitely share some of the same thoughts with you… I want to be optimistic about the future of media and yet, sometimes I find it very difficult. Especially, when so many of my Com. classes here at UW, reiterate the death of the newspaper and the ever-changing online world. I think this article is really interesting because it really does give hope for a new, improved media outlet. Obviously, this is the “best case scenario” of new journalism, but we’re on our way to acheiving it already. In response to your first question: I think this new form of journalism will definitely help the countries that do not have the luxery of free press. As long as they can write anonymously, there is no reason they can’t blog away!

  4. Thanks for all your comments. I definitely agree with Jason that there are eyes everywhere on the Internet and someone will read your blog. Indeed revolution of the society lies in the hands of those who want it. And the Internet has made advocacy such an easy job to do, I certainly share your view that one day, oppressive regimes may be toppled without arms, but with binary digits.

    Nicole: I have the same feelings too regarding the article. I feel a sense of optimism. However, I believe that there is a lot of work for us to do to reach that 11th layer and sometimes I am just too lazy and apathetic to try to learn the tools of a journalist cum blogger needs. It gets too technical at times!

  5. Faith – great summary!

    I do share similar concerns with regards to whether this can work in a society without free press. One might ask “what is free press?” “what is truly free?” Does free press mean allowing the relatively upper strata of society provide views and correct each other? Is it truly free press, as in does it allow the most truest representation of the state of the society that we live in?

    Sure, wiki’s and especially its largest and most successful implementation – wikipedia – has provided a model which is “more fair” than others but without doubt it has its own drawbacks and one can argue that it is still NOT free press.

  6. Faith – the article you summarized is very interesting and is the idealist notion that many people today hold. But is idealism always achievable? As we discussed in class, wiki’s do have many downfalls. I share all of your concerns that a wiki in journalism can be a scary thing. All I know is alot of journlists would be out of a job if it were up to everyone to produce the news.

  7. I hear you Faith! This whole blogging thing is pretty complex when you think about it… sometimes this class goes over my head, but I’m definitely learning. I suppose, just like everything else, the blogsphere is a work in progress… someday we’ll get the hang of it all!

  8. Khair: I totally agree that as much as blogosphere is diverse, the people who have access to the means of blogging and consuming the information are people who can afford them. In that case, a blog is not really considered an alternative media but another avenue for the rich to rant and spread their “gospel”.

    I agree that wiki is scary and yet, we would soon become obsolete like the scribes if we fail to embrace it. Let’s start loving wikinews! 🙂

  9. I would also agree with you comment that this can be overwhelming but I also think that in reality this is not something that is going to require every person to actively participate. Some of the most drastic transitions in history are started by just a few dedicated people

  10. Well said everybody! Wiki’s are the newest medium of news and eventually they might be prominent in our culture. This reminds me of when CD’s first became popular (I think I was in 4th grade)… At first my family and I were like, “No way are we converting to CD’s! We like tapes!” And within a few years, tapes were off the market prominently and we too were buying CD’s because we had too.

    Whether we convert to Wiki news now or later, it’s probably going to happen!

  11. Well said everybody! Wiki’s are the newest medium of news and eventually they might be prominent in our culture. This reminds me of when CD’s first became popular (I think I was in 4th grade)… At first my family and I were like, “No way are we converting to CD’s! We like tapes!” And within a few years, tapes were off the market prominently and we too were buying CD’s because we had to.

    Whether we convert to Wiki news now or later, it’s probably going to happen!

  12. Sorry for coming in a bit late.

    Great discussion. I agree with number of points above.

    I would like to caution all of you at solely relying on popular opinion or wisdom of the crowd which is what wikis are all about.

    Would our society have progressed as much in the past 50-100 years if we were to solely rely on popular opinion?

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