Citizen Media Watch

januari 19th, 2007

"Money could bridge the gap between blogging and journalism"

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Lisa Sabater at the Daily Gotham poses a question. What do we need to turn blogging into real citizen journalism? She’s asking the readers of her blog for an answer, and the replies are stating one thing to be the main factor: money.

Money for tools (computer equipment, voice recorders, cameras etc), and for time – investigative journalism takes time. None seems to worry about lacking journalistic training.

Though the first thought that struck me was ”do we want to turn blogging into journalism?”. Blogging isn’t journalism, though it can be. It’s merely a platform, how you use it is up to you as a blogger. And it should be.
I wouldn’t want all blogs to be ”just” journalism. The opinionated, wild stuff is part of what makes a blog a blog. But I do know what Sabater is getting at.
These are the questions she’s been asked to answer, in preparation for a talk at Harvard.

If we believe in an informed and engaged citizenry, what does that require? What skills and information do citizens need? What is important political information that bloggers and other new media types can provide that isn’t currently being available or accessible? What is essential political information for a citizen in the new era? Is there such a thing?

The important thing here is numbers, I think. A blogger on his or her own is pretty powerless, but we come in numbers. And the collective skills are powerful, as is the contact base. Bloggers can be watchdogs. Through collaboration they can investigate – if each devotes a little time, and contributes his/her skills.

What is needed, then? The same possibilities for insight into companies, parties, government bodies etc as journalists have. Open up the press conferences to bloggers, publish how-to’s to the public on how to search for information in public documents and databases, create a blogger knowledge database where bloggers can find other bloggers who are experts in a specific area and are volunteering to help out.


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