Citizen Media Watch

december 20th, 2006

LA Times on "YouTube journalism"

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

The LA Times has a piece on what they call YouTube journalism, and start off with the example of this video clip, filmed by a mountaneering expedition team in the Nangapa pass in the Himilayas on Sept. 30, 2006.

The video clip shows some people on a foot path up a snowy mountain. Suddenly you hear a shot and one of them fall to the ground. They are Tibetan refugees, and are shot by Chinese soldiers.
As you can hear in this clip, the Chinese news agency’s take on this episode is that ”Chinese frontier soldiers tried to persuade the tibetans to go home, but the tibetans refused and attacked the soldiers. These were then forced to defend themselves and to wound two persons.”
The video clip clearly shows a different story. It was shown on Romanian tv, then published on YouTube where it got worldwide attention. LA Times calls it ”the YouTube effect”.

LA Times:

Although international news operations employ thousands of professional journalists, they will never be as omnipresent as millions of people carrying cellphones that can record video. Thanks to the ubiquity of video technology, the world was able to witness a shooting in a 19,000-foot-high mountain pass in Tibet.

This phenomenon is amplified by a double-echo chamber: One echo is produced when content first posted on the Web is re-aired by mainstream TV networks. The second echo occurs when television clips — until now ephemeral — gain a permanent presence through websites such as YouTube. Bloggers and activists everywhere are recognizing the power of citizen-produced and Web-distributed videos as the ultimate testimony.

Read the full story, that also touches on witness.org, trust in citizen journalism, political effects and censorship.

(via MediaShift)


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december 20th, 2006

Media Culpa's 2007

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

I had a great time reading Hans Kullin at Media Culpa‘s predictions for 2007. I really recommend you to check out this post.

Here’s how he thinks citizen journalism will affect mainstream media in 2007.

Mainstream media are pushing the citizen journalism trend so far that reporters are quitting their jobs in order to be just ”ordinary people”. ”This is the only way that I will be able to get anything printed nowadays”, says one columnist at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, who prefer to be anonymous.


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december 20th, 2006

Polar Rose creating some buzz

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Swedish photo/video face recognition search tool Polar Rose has got some attention in the States. Most recently on the front page of Red Herring, this article on CNN and a TechCrunch post by Michael Arrington that got some sceptical comments and then replies from Polar Rose representatives.

Red Herring cover, featuring Nikolaj NyholmAt Sime, we got an interesting presentation from Polar Rose CEO Nikolaj Nyholm (seen to the right on the Red Herring cover). What makes Polar Rose different from old school image search engines is that it works from a 3D model of 2D images.
Nyholm showed how you could take a picture of a beautiful woman you found on the net and see if you can map it to photos on online dating services. If you’re out of luck, then you could widen the search and look for other women who look somewhat like her.
To make Polar Rose really useful, you need to download their software. It’s a browser plugin that lets you tag photos on any web site.

Polar Rose founder Jan Erik Solem writes (in the comments):

Look at how visual the web is becoming. Try doing an image search for a person on your preferred search site. What you’ll most likely get is some photos of the person you were looking for and some not even close. Most likely there are even more and better photos out there without labels/text/metatags which you’ll never see. Look at the long tail of web photos (yours and mine) and you’ll see lots of photos that are unsearchable.

So what’s the social media use for Polar Rose’s technology? Well, it provides a tool for connecting photos within and across websites, for grouping photos based on their appearance instead of their context or tagging. You could find out how you are presented on the web in more detail. And, well, the dating site example might be useful for some.

Jonathan at Swedish blog lab:kloud9 writes:

there is a connection here to social media (and possibly the FBI/CIA) and any time we can make the web more sortable, I’m all for it.

Others raise concerns about privacy, like commenter Akaishi on Tech Novelty:

”It occurs to me that this could be used to do things like identify the past lives of witness protection program participants. Are the ethics of it even under consideration?”


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december 20th, 2006

Blogging in the long tail

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Johan Larsson writes about niche blogs, after finding a blog on Swedish blackberries (my translation):

You can be more proud of having five visitors who are really interested than having 4000 who are just a bit curious.

Like Johan, I am thrilled to find blogs that are well written on a subject I don’t know much about. One of the ideas behind an initiative I used to be editor of, Veckans blogg (Blog of the week) was to highlight blogs that otherwise got little attention.


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december 20th, 2006

Slow change in the newsroom

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Mark Glaser summarizes what he’s found when asking people how the change from ”old” to ”new” media is going in their newsroom. An interesting read.

You can talk all you want about new media, and even hire people with experience in new media, but if the top execs don’t really get it, then change is quite difficult.


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december 20th, 2006

On comments to articles and community building

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Tucson-based Arizona Daiy Star’s site azstarnet.com has decided to remove the possibility to comment on many of their articles.
Debbie Kornmiller, Readers Advocate, writes:

This is the second time since StarNet launched in 1995 that the Star’s online forum has forced management to rethink allowing online interaction. The last foray, the Community Front Page, was yanked completely in 2000 after attempts to maintain civility failed.

Kornmiller says they hoped for a ”tough but respectful debate”, but got comments that are ”just plain coarse”.

AZstarnet has had a hands off policy, letting the reader community be. But that can also be interpreted by visitors as not caring. Allowing too much is as bad as removing too much. It’s basic community maintenance – making people feel at home.
Now it seems like the problem has spiralled for AZstarnet.

While we added the reader comments feature to give readers a place to talk, StarNet is still our house. And our editors and staff simply do not want guests who make vulgar, abusive, obscene, defamatory and hateful comments. If you want to live in that kind of neighborhood, go create your own online forum.

Abusive comments, fights and name-calling is something we work with continuously at Aftonbladet. In our Forums, we struggle to keep the debate at a good level – not to censor, but not to be sloppy either, or people will take offense.
One important thing, which I think I am not doing enough, is to be visible in the forums yourself. The old problem with commentary to articles (Aftonbladet’s forums are often linked to individual articles) was that online newspapers simply provided the opportunity to comment, but didn’t very much care what anyone was writing – as long as it wasn’t against their rules.
What I try to do as Readers’ Editor is to highlight great postings, to summarize discussions and to bring the readers writing into the articles and sections pages of the site. To show our readers, who are also writers, that their words have bearing.

I can understand AZ starnet’s dilemma at the current situation. It’s a small organization – I’ve visited them – and building community takes time and effort.
AZ Starnet used to be in the forefront of online news sites. Bob Cauthorn (currently working on the launch of CityTools), when he worked there in the 90s, took the initiative to many ground-breaking reader-centered features. I hope this is not a change in the course set by him.
The post by Kornmiller has more than 100 comments, most of them civilized. So there are people in the Tuscon area who are willing to have a serious online discussion. Hopefully, with some advice, they can continue that conversation.

(via Matthew Ingram)


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