Citizen Media Watch

februari 1st, 2007

Personal journalism, the future of online reporting

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Howard Owens, Director of Digital Publishing at Gatehouse Media, came up with a new term about a week ago – personal journalism. I’ve been meaning to comment on it, and today he posted one more term which he says is the opposite: Definitive-voice journalism.

Here’s how he sees personal journalism.

Personal Journalism is just as ethical as old-school public journalism. It still values facts, fairness, truth telling and good reporting. It’s just that personal journalism is written differently. It is written from one person, a person we can identify and identify with, for one person. The byline is more than a name under a headline in Personal Journalism. It is the persona and the personality. Personal journalists do more than report the story. They let us see at least a little about who they are, what they believe, what drives them and what they find important. If a personal journalist has a bias, we know it. That is part of the truth-telling tradition all journalists should endorse, but only personal journalists make it a practice.

Personal Journalism is shareable because people like to share what has touched them in a direct, intimate way, be it a song, a video or a good story.

Personal Journalists let other people help with the fact gathering or putting the facts in context, because Personal Journalism is part of a conversation, not a proprietary, walled garden.

Further, Owens thinks that all journalists will need to become personal in this way in the future, possibly with the exception of those reporting for print and broadcast media. It’s a compelling thought that all online journalists should take to their hearts. Live the medium, be a part of it, and you’ll reach out to your readers.

In a later post, Owens wonders if it’s a good term, and then clarifies:

what I’m talking about isn’t really about personal expression. It’s more about personal connection.

He also modifies his statement a bit.

Given more time to think about it, personal journalism is, if it is real, just another genre of journalism, like narrative journalism or enterprise reporting.

On to definitive-voice journalism. It is the opposite, and it is what we are used to from MSM:

Definitive-voice journalism is the journalism of big media, of packaged-good media. It is the way journalism has been practiced for some time. It is the journalism that the traditionalists defend. It is the journalism that says, “the news is what I say the news is.” I’m not predicting the demise of definitive-voice journalism, but personal journalism will become the dominant journalism within a matter of years.

februari 1st, 2007

"20 million editors" became 400

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Netzeitung, an online newspaper in Germany, started its citizen journalsim project ”The Readers Edition” in June 2006. When announcing the project, they called out for ”20 million editors”. What they got was around 400 regulars. Which is probably for the better – with 20 million people the content would be much harder to grasp.
The numbers come from NewAssignment, where joha also writes:

With Germany’s biggest online presence, Spiegel Online making money, German publishers have figured out that the Web is here to stay. But citizen journalism has been slow to catch on and some of the hesitancy may be cultural.
“Germany’s civil society is not very familiar with the idea of one feeling entitled to publicly articulate himself,” said Christoph Neuberger, from the university of Muenster, “and journalism in Germany is always reproached with seeing its audience more like objects of influence than as responsible individuals that just want to inform themselves.”

Interestingly enough the Reader’s Edition uses WordPress. (I’ve been looking at different CMSs for a hobby project lately, hence my interest. Right now I’m leaning towards Drupal. But WordPress is still an option.)

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februari 2007
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