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?
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?