Citizen Media Watch

maj 16th, 2007

Damon Rasti: When you can influence content you are more okay with ads

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Damon Rasti at Stockholm media week is a Swedish version of the popular US blog ”Overheard in New York”. In a short period of time it has gained a great success, being the most read blog on, and last summer the blog landed a book deal. The book is also very successful.

Last week Damon Rasti, one of the people behind the site, talked a bit about Tjuvlyssnat on Stockholm Media Week.
Tjuvlyssnat started out as a hobby project between Damon and his friend. They started publishing conversation they had overheard, and the site got a lot of attention. More and more people started contributing.
– It’s everyday conversation, but here they are collected in one place, said Rasti. It reminds you of gossip, but it is more innocent.
The people in the conversations are usually anonymous everyday people.
– It’s never been our intention to expose celebrities. is ad financed, and it’s going very well.
– When you can influence and contribute content you are much more okay with ads. You understand they are necessary to keep the site going.

Rasti said he has many new projects coming up, one of them with a major media company. But as the papers were not yet signed, that was all he wanted to reveal. Also he’s working on a mashup and two new sites for young girls.

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maj 16th, 2007

Reports from the SJF debate on user generated content

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

I haven’t had time to write about the SJF panel debate on citizen media the other day, so I was happy to see that Media Culpa and Andreas Aspegren have done the job for me. And a good job too.

On the whole it was an odd situation, being in a debate with my employer’s main competitor suddenly on my side, and the other side consisting of representatives of my own trade union. These are strange times.
It was however a good and necessary debate which high-lighted for me some of the dangers of the conservatism in the press corps.

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maj 16th, 2007

Brazilian student fined for online abuse on Orkut

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

This is a guest post by Gitta Wilén, Scriptwriter for interactive Media at Houdini web agency.

A college student in Brazil has been condemned to pay 3 500 reails (about 1 700 US dollars) for abusing a fellow student at the online community Orkut. reports about a student that had created a community at Orkut, where he wrote about his fellow student as being an extraterrestrial.
The victim of the abuse, who became a target for mocking and laughs, at the college in the Metropolitan Area of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, decided to start a process against the student and was successful. But the student is still able to reply to the supreme court in Brasília, Brazil.

Luis Fernando SandesAs my Brazilian friend Luis Fernando Sandes was online, I asked him what he thinks about this story and that Brazilian internet users are treating each other bad on the web?
– I can not think of something that happens in virtual life that does not happens in real life. That goes for both good and bad things, he says.
He thinks that we should expect to see things like this happening on the internet. People are always going to mock eachother and it is impossible to control what people are doing on the web. He himself has not been the target of any abuse.

Luis thinks that people won’t stop creating communities like this. But that the people who are managing Orkut and other communities should work on engines to detect and erase them easily.
– If necessary send the content to the police and punish the guilty, as it would be treated in real life, he says.

Luis joined Orkut because he thought that it would be a nice place where he could get in contact with people from different places, such as Recife or Stockholm.
– It is a just another way to keep in touch with friends and to meet new people. But it is not much harder to keep in touch with them without Orkut, he says.

On the question why Orkut has been such a great success in Brazil he answers:
– Many Brazilians are communicative and friendly, maybe that is the reason?

Luis has only been using Orkut so far, but he is looking for entering Second Life, because he has heard a lot about it.
– Maybe Second Life is going to be the next big thing in Brazil, as they are going to translate it to Portuguese?, he says.


maj 15th, 2007

Geo-stories, the result of the Brighton multimedia project

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

The bible found on the beachIn December I wrote about the multimedia project in Brighton which is a collaboration between the University of Brighton, Nokia, Ymogen and the BBC.
Today the result was released as Geo-stories, a set of geo-tagged photos and film clips brought together as a kind of multimedia story on this site.
If the goal was to ”create engaging stories” as Mark Hardwick put it, I’m sorry to say I am not that impressed.

Guerilla gardeningThere are two ways to explore the stories, either by clicking the ”play the story” button, in which case you get the full multimedia experience with a satellite image background, music and text, photos and video clips telling a step-by-step story. Unfortunately many of them are over-done, having music with lyrics in the background while you’re supposed to read small and quite blurred text which disappears too quickly. The most engaging story is The bible on the beach, though that one raises a lot of other questions. Nowhere do we get to know if this is a fictional or true story. If it’s true, there are a lot of objections to be made. If not, that should be made clear.
The Guerilla gardening story also works okay.

The other way of exploring the stories is by clicking the dots/signs on each story’s map. That doesn’t work well at all. The navigation leaves a lot to be asked for. It sometimes, for instance on the ”Tree Survey”, brings you away from the map of photos/video clips once you click to view one of them. In other places you still get to see the map with the geotagged photos, but if you’ve zoomed in you lose the zoom once you click on a photo and have to re-zoom (and re-zoom you have to, since the standard view of the map is so much zoomed out that the photo dots are on top of eachother). If you use the Next and Previous links there are no indications on the map which dot represent the photo your looking at.

However, it is an interesting experiment, and a first step towards using geotagging in story-telling. The main flaws in the second way of story exploration are actually due to less than perfect site building, not the way the students have carried out the projects.

With some more training, this could mature into something quite interesting. But it is important to remember that a web audience usually wants to be active – clicking the forward arrows in the multimedia needs to work flawlessly. And clicking your way around a map needs to work without the map reloading and zooming when you haven’t asked it to.

As for the ”citizen media” aspect, I see no way to contribute to the site, though it says you can comment as a registered user. That doesn’t seem to include the general public, or the link is well hidden. But I guess the citizen journalism part is referring to the students not being trained journalists.

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maj 13th, 2007

Robin Hamman on the pilot BBC project in Manchester

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Robin HammanThe BBC is a media company in the forefront when it comes to working with its users, letting them contribute in different ways. One of their projects that I’ve been following for a while is the Manchester blogging project, a pilot study where editors work closely with a community of local bloggers.
Last Thursday I had the privilege to meet with Robin Hamman, Senior Broadcast Journalist at the BBC, and one of the people behind the project in Manchester. We were both invited to speak at a seminar on citizen media at the University in Karlstad, along with web advisor Fredrik Wackå.
Robin has a friendly, bubbly personality and is easy to like, traits that no doubt is a great help both when working with fellow journalists and when workshopping with budding bloggers. Like me he runs several blogs, some private and some in his professional role.
The key features of the Manchester blogging projects, Robin said, are that the BBC has no ownership of the blogs and doesn’t manage any content.
Thus it is fairly cost efficient and they don’t have to worry about the legal aspects. Instead what they do is they help people get started blogging, then promote their stuff.
(Robin Hamman prefers the word ”stuff” to content, or worse ”UGC”. I can sympathize with that. I think we need new words for ”the stuff formerly known as user generated content”.)
The BBC hosts blogging workshops in Manchester where people can come and learn how to blog and why. To take part in the project, bloggers need to adhere to the BBC’s ethical rules. But they don’t seem too strict.
– Bloggers must care about the guidelines, Hamman said. The really, really bad ones.
Some small breaks of the rules seem okay, and Hamman also encourages the bloggers in the project to mail him if they plan to break the rules, so that he can remove the links.
One of the bloggers in the project has been employed by the BBC – their first ”blogging correspondent – but apart from that, they blog for free. What the bloggers get out of it is of course the traffic the links on the BBC Manchester website generate.

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maj 8th, 2007

Presentation and debate

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

I have a busy week coming up. Thursday I’ll give a presentation at Karlstad University on citizen media and how we work with participatory journalism at Also some important challenges for news sites and some trends I see in the near future. Should be fun.
The other speakers are Fredrik Wackå and Robin Hamman, so I’ll be in good company. I’m really looking forward to Hamman’s presentation of the Manchester blogging project and how the BBC is working with educating people to become bloggers through workshops.

Tomorrow morning I hope to have time to stop by Stockholm Media Week to listen to Damon Rasti talk about web2.0 and a panel on local as ”the new black”.

Then on Monday I’ll participate in a debate hosted by the Swedish Journalists’ Union on Citizen journalism – ”threat or opportunity”. It’s to take place at Cafe Aguéli, Blecktornsgränd 9, Stockholm, at 19.30. It’s free and open for all. Jonas Morian hoped for more bloggers/citizen media people in the panel as opposed to journalists, and I can see his concern. Let’s hope for a lot of them in the audience.

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maj 2007
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