Citizen Media Watch

februari 13th, 2007

AP and NowPublic partnership brings local cit-journ into big media

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Interesting partnership between the Associated Press and citizen journalism site for local news. In a press release the two companies wrote that ”the goal of the effort is to expand the world’s access to news as it happens”. CyberJournalist has more.

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februari 11th, 2007

Swedish news sites narrowing the gap to the blogosphere

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

This week saw the entry of Twingly-powered link boxes on Swedish newspaper sites Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) and Dagens Nyheter (DN). The two competing dailies both link to blog posts that comment their articles, the same functionality that Aftonbladet has in its blog portal, but more automatically integrated in the news sites. So far the link boxes only appear on select articles though.

Twingly is developed by Primelabs, a Swedish research-oriented IT company. Here’s how they describe Twingly (my translation):

Twingly is a blog search engine and ping service which is the missing link between the blogging world and media. Twingly collects blogs from all over the world – already more than ten million blogs.
At you can search among the Swedish blogs in our index.

It’s interesting to see that more and more news sites become aware of the importance to get closer to their readers. Linking to blogs is a good way of doing this, and twingly seems like a pretty good tool. Some questions have been raised about the news sites filtering the results though. The blogs featured in the link boxes are supposed to be the ”most interesting” among those that link to the specific article. The sorting is done by Twingly, by relevance and what they call ”blog authority”, along with the number of links from other blogs. Swedish blog internetbrus writes (my translation):

Whether it really is the most interesting posts [that appear in the link boxes] is hard to tell when you haven’t seen the posts that have been filtered out. Sure you can do a link search to find more posts, but as we wrote yesterday there are flaws in search engines’ link searches.

Media Culpa
also reacts against the selection:

Apparently DN does not show all the incoming links that Twingly has in its database. In the Help section on the site, DN writes that you can find ”a list of all blogs that link to an article on”. For some reason DN chooses to list only a selection of links. If this process turns out to filter out negative articles, then I expect an uproar in the blogosphere when bloggers find out they are being ”censored”. Should DN continue to leave out a large part of the conversation they will most certainly open up for criticism.

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februari 8th, 2007

Video clip on citizen journalism

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

iCommunity.TV points to a video clip which is the result of a 3-month documentary production course at Cambridge Community Television. The video is about citizen journalism and its implications. Though a bit long (15 minutes) and overloaded with voices saying ”citizen journalism” over and over, it does feature some of the field’s top names and their reflections. So it’s well worth watching. There’s also a part focusing on vlogging which is interesting.
Interviewed in the video are among others Lisa Williams, Ethan Zuckerman, Chris Daly, John R. Stilgoe, Steve Garfield, Janaka Stucky, Susan Fleischmann, Remus Brice and Bill Densmore.

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februari 8th, 2007

Geotagging makes YouTube videos local at iCommunity.TV

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

iCommunityTviCommunity.TV is a new mashup service of YouTube and Google maps. As I predicted, geotagging will be big this year, and this is a good example, even if it remains to be seen how widely used the site will be – so far there are about 26 ”place channels” which lets you watch video related to a certain city. Each videoclip is pin-pointed on a map. The geotagging and sorting into different news categories is done by the site’s users.

It’s interesting to see that the site has journalistic ambitions.
– We like to think of it as an experiment to further explore the potential of citizen reporting, says Chris Haller of, the company behind
The focus is said to be local news, but there are also a bunch of entertainment/music clips with local connections. You can subscribe to the channels for different cities or news categories.
From the front page presentation:

We believe that offers more than diet coke+mentos and the beer cannon. This website is dedicated to giving citizen reporting a video platform, by adding location to news footage hosted on Youtube and distributing it through various local news channels.

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februari 6th, 2007

Great clip on the web 2.0 evolution

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

So simple it’s brilliant. This clip was made by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University.

februari 6th, 2007

New report: Citizen media here to stay

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

The Institute for Interactive Journalism, J-Lab, has released a lenthy study on hyperlocal citizen media and its sustainability over time. In a news release, J-Lab writes:

Most citizen media ventures are shoestring labors of love, funded out of the founders’ own pockets, and staffed by volunteer content contributors. While they’d like more readers and revenues, site founders nevertheless professed a solid resolve to continue: 51% said they didn’t need to make money to keep going; 82% said they planned to continue ”indefinitely.” Nearly all would welcome reinforcements and the ability to make even token payments to writers.

”While not all individual sites will continue to operate, we project that the phenomenon of citizen media will be sustainable, with new sites coming online in serial fashion to replace those that collapse as their founders burn out,” Schaffer said.

73 percent of 500 citizens who participated in the survey think of their sites as a success. Shaffer in the quote above is Jan Schaffer, J-Lab’s Executive Director.

Read more:
The full report at Knight Citizen News Network

(via Center for Citizen Media)

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februari 5th, 2007

Collaborative novel writing at Penguin

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

David Kaplan at writes about a new site by Penguin publishing house: A Million Penguins. The site is a wiki where users can contribute to a novel that is to be written in only six weeks time.
Creative writing students set up the framework for the story, and editors will report on the progress. According to Reuters, Penguin are not planning to publish the finished work in the form of a book.

”This is an experiment. It may end up like reading a bowl of alphabet spaghetti,” Jeremy Ettinghausen, head of digital publishing at Penguin UK said

Ettinghausen also writes about the project in his blog:

Over the next six weeks we want to see whether a community can really get together, put creative differences aside (or sort them out through discussion) and produce a novel. We honestly don’t know how this is going to turn out – it’s an experiment. Some disciplines rely completely on collaboration, while others – the writing of a novel, for example – have traditionally been the work of an individual working in isolation. But with collaboration, crowdsourcing and the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ being buzz words du jour, we thought we might as well see if these new trends can be applied to a less obvious sphere than, say, software development.

A couple of commentors on Kaplan’s post point to similar projects that might be worth checking out – Glypho and Poups (the latter in German).


februari 5th, 2007

A Jungian persona definition of "old media"

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

The other day I wrote about Howard Owens‘ attempts to come up with a term that defines the ”new” in journalism. He arrived at ”personal journalism”, as opposed to ”definitive-voice journalism”.
Andy Dickinson also read the posts, and suggests that rather than calling the old media-style of journalism ”definitive-voice”, we should call it Persona Journalism, derived from the Jungian idea of persona.

Persona Journalism is old-school public journalism. It is written by many people, but presented in the voice of one person. That person is ‘a mask or appearance one presents to the world’. The persona will change as the situation dictates. It will present views as values, facts, fairness, truth telling and good reporting. Persona journalism reports the story, but hides who the journalists are, what drives them and what they find important.

februari 5th, 2007


Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

In an attempt to catch up with news about citizen media, here’s a list of interesting things I would have written more in-depth on, had I had the time:

  • Of course I need to start with the Nieman report‘s winter issue, which is all about ”Journalism 2.0”. Titled ”Goodbye Gutenberg”, it contains a whole bunch of interesting articles. One of those is Craig ”Craigslist” Newmark‘s piece on Community Building on the Web: Implications for Journalism
  • Viacom‘s demand on YouTube to remove the clips that come from its networks, including MTV and Comedy Central.
  • 28 percent of internet users tag content, according to Pew.
  • ”It’s amazing how new technology can bring so many of us together”, says Hillary Clinton as she replies to viewers questions in the first of a series of video chats. Mastering social media will be a key issue in the upcoming presidential election.
  • Jeff Jarvis on Davos07:

    Perhaps the most important ‘ding’ moment I had at Davos was that the powerful are, no surprise, one step behind in their understanding of the true significance of the internet: They think it is all about individual action when, in truth, it’s about collective action. And so they don’t yet see that the internet will shift power even more than they realize.

  • David Cohn: Breakthrough ideas for 2007 — they are already here
  • Tent city citizen media – a homeless woman films police as they take away her and many other homeless people’s temporary homes. Technology as a way to fight back. (via Howard Owens)
  • Social media invade Superbowl
  • Swedish top bloggers harassed. An Aftonbladet story on bloggers Carolina Lassbo and Engla that is widely commented in the Swedish blogosphere.
  • JD Lasica on map mashups and the future of service journalism
  • An OhMyNews story on local citizen journalism in Indonesia. And JD Lasica points to a new citizen journalism initiative in India.
  • Red Herring: NY Times to post user-generated videos
  • Mathew Ingram: Should all journalists be bloggers?
  • Martin Stabe on the relationship between blogging and journalism
  • Blogumentary – an hour long video ducumentary about blogs by Chuck Olsen (via Dan Gillmor)

  • 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.

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