Citizen Media Watch

december 13th, 2006

MyMissourian – lessons learnt from a hybrid project

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Kevin Anderson reports from a panel on the reader revolution, and what Clyde Bentley of the University of Missouri School of Journalism had to say about a citizen journalism project called MyMissourian.
According to Anderson, MyMissourian was inspired by Korean OhMyNews, and is open for anyone’s participation. There, readers become reporters, with the help of journalism students.
Its focus is on feature material, things that are close to home. Some of the sections are Fashion, Voices, Culture, Business, Celebrations, Spiritual Life, Recipes, Sports and Schools.
What they’ve done is that they’ve created a print product from the online material.
These are the lessons they have learnt:

  • Use citizen journalism to supplement not replace.
  • UGC (user generated content – my remark) isn’t free.
  • Online attracts the eager, but print serves the masses.
  • Give people what they want, when they want it and how they want it.
  • Get rid of preconceptions of what journalism is.
  • Every day people are better ‘journalists’ than you think.
  • All in all good points, but the first and the fifth point are the most important for old news people to take in, I think. Keeping an open mind to what constitutes journalism, and what is ”good” journalism. But not forgetting that it also takes a lot of hard work to dig up a breaking news story, and there are people trained to do that, and they are good at it.
    The established media shouldn’t hand over the responsibility of journalism to the general public. They haven’t asked for it. But we should invite the public to be creative and to use the journalistic tools, and to do it in our sphere. In close collaboration a lot is to be gained for both parts, and I believe the winner will be the future readers, who will get better and more interesting news.

    Anderson also reports:

    Is there a future for journalists? Yes, both professional and citizen journalists, but the job of professional journalists is changing, Clyde said. It is now more about guiding people to content and covering stories from a different way. Journalists should invite the public to the table.

    (via Strange Attractor)


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    1. Jon Harmon said,

      on december 27th, 2006 at 3:12 f m

      Jon Harmon, Mizzou BJ ’83, writes: ”All good points of citizen journalism at home, but importantly citizen journalism represents a great source of hope for freedom in violent, repessive countries without a free press. I’ve asked Michael Dell to champion an International Press Freedom Award for citizen journalistic heroism. For more on this, see:
      http://jon8332.typepad.com/force_for_good/2006/12/an_open_letter_.html

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