Citizen Media Watch

januari 28th, 2007

Hyperlocal sites from UK's largest newspaper publisher

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Your GazetteThe Teesside Gazette has launched five hyper-local sites, under the name Your Gazette, based on postal codes in the Middlesborough area in the UK. Interestingly enough, this initiative comes from UK’s largest newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror. It’s interesting to see that a huge company can think about focusing on few people, as is necessary in hyper-local sites. And the five will eventually become 23, Michael Hill, Trinity’s head of multimedia, tells Journalism.co.uk.
News on Your Gazette include ”Roadworks in your area”, a disabled woman getting a job at the local M&S, a man celebrating his 100th birthday and the worst bus shelter in all of Middlesborough. Yep, that’s local.
The focus is clearly on the people in the areas, and the sites are now calling out for bloggers to help filling them with content. There are also links to clips on YouTube made by locals.

(via BetaAlfa)


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januari 2nd, 2007

Placeblogger – a new hub for hyperlocal blogging in the States

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Placeblogger.comA new site covering local and hyperlocal blogs has launched. Placeblogger.com is presented by Dan Gillmor’s Center for Citizens Media, Jay Rosen‘s PressThink and Lisa Williams’ H20Town.
The site defines a placeblog as ”an act of sustained attention to a particular place over time”. It’s not necessarily citizen journalism, but rather can contain what they call ”random acts of journalism”.

”Placeblogger.com’s goal is to serve the community of placebloggers”, said Lisa Williams at a presentation at The Berkman Center at Harvard.
She wants to make it easier for placebloggers to find eachother, among other things by using geotagging. The site also provides OPML readinglists for each country (there are a few placeblogs listed outside the US, but they’re not many), state and city.
Each blog is pinned to a map, has a short description and a few lines of the most recent posts.
There’s a Yahoo Group and mailing list connected to the site.

It’s also a one stop shopping for people who are interested in citizen journalism in the United States. You can actually see, instead of just theorize.

Here’s more of what Lisa Williams had to say about Placeblogger in the video clip from Harvard:

Lots of people talk of citizen journalism and hyperlocal media. This is what I think a placeblog is. A placeblog is about the lived experience of a place. I think that’s a useful definition, because when we talk about these sites as citizen journalism, it’s very easy to go to even the best of these sites, take a look at it for 15 seconds, say ”what a crappy newspaper” and hit the Back button.
And that’s because most of us are extremely fortunate. Our lived experience of the place we live in when we walk out the door is not news. And if it is, one of two terrible things have happened to you. 1) you have become a celebrity, which is awful, or 2) you live in warzone.
For most of these places where they live, they are talking about lived experience of the place. And, sure, there’s news in that, random acts of journalism. But they’re also talking about what it’s like to live in this particular place and talk to these particular people, eat somewhere and take the bus somewhere.
I think that the relationship between placeblogs and newspapers is that the newspaper publishes the slice of the lived experience of that place that is newsworthy.

I checked out the five blogs about Boulder, CO. One thing that would have been cool would be a combined rss feed for all of them, showing the different posts sorted by date rather than by blog, which would be the effect if I added them to a Boulder folder in my RSS reader.

Update:
A similar site (?) in the making seems to be K. Paul Mallasch‘s Local journalism.net. Not much info there yet: ”This is a project I’ve started to keep track of specific examples of local journalism (aka citizen journalism aka grassroots journalism) websites. Stay tuned for more.” Though the tagline seems to imply it’s more of a corporate initiative: ”Your Guide to Citizen Journalism Startups”


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januari 12th, 2011

Citizen Media Watch says goodbye and hello

Posted by lotta
Gitta Willén och Lotta Holmström

Gitta Wilén and Lotta Holmström. Photo: Pelle Sten

This will be the last post at Citizen Media Watch. As you might have noticed, we haven’t posted in ages. Our focus has been elsewhere, and continue to be so, so with some regret we are making it official that this blog is now simply an archive of our previous posts. We’ll keep it a “landmark only”.

We have met a lot of interesting people and had great conversations along the way. We hope our old posts will shed some light on an era that came and went quite quickly, but changed journalism in many ways.

Over the years we’ve addressed countless issues, for instance we wrote about Wikileaks before it got public. Here are some of our other favorites.

First and last blog post
Citizen media: A definition. The very first blog post.

Thinkpublic – designing with people. The last post, with many thanks to Brit Stakston for the video interview with Ella Britton at Think Public.

Gitta: I think that think public, both on land and online, will grow as a phenomenon and become a way to create a more open and smarter communication.

A global perspective
We had an ambition to cover not only citizen media in the western world, but to some extent have a global perspective. We’ve written about projects and events in China, Sri Lanka, Belarus, India, Korea, Thailand, Brazil, Iraq, Singapore, Tunisia and Lebanon.

Lotta: Citizen journalism’s strength is most shown in countries where freedom of speech is limited. The Tunisia prison map is one great example, there are many others. With internet access ordinary people can report first hand on troubling events.


The newsroom of Folha onLine, São Paulo, Brazil.
Photo: Gitta Wilén

Brazil’s no. 1 online newspaper Fohla OnLine – and its bloggers. Gitta’s first guest post at CMW, before she became a regular blogger here. It got numerous hits from Brazilian readers: a visit at the editorial desk at Folha OnLine, in São Paulo, Brasil.

A warm welcome to Gitta Wilén

Lotta: It was a natural development of this blog for me to invite Gitta to be a 50/50 collaborator after her having contributed three great guest posts. We make a good team!

Gitta: It has been totally awesome all the way working with Lotta and CMW. We are both storytellers, work-o-holics and Internet addicts.

Hyperlocal and geotagging
Over the years we spent writing at CMW, hyperlocal news went from the next hot thing to failing because hyperlocal markets weren’t ready, to now again being quite interesting since geotagging and geolocation through smartphones is really taking off.

• Here’s one of many posts on this topic: Geotagging makes YouTube videos local at iCommunity.TV.

Lotta: Just look at Gowalla, FourSquare and now also Facebook’s recent integration with Places. We tell stories based on where we are, to a select number of people or to the world. Collaborative maps pinpointing events certainly have their place on major news sites too.

Gitta: It has taken far more time to get there than I thought i would. I seriously thought that geotagging would be implemented and a part of our navigation tools, much earlier. But, let’s handle it wisely and with care.

Teaching and talking
We got opportunities to lecture from our experiences at CMW. For instance Gitta was invited by Jonas Söderström (Inuse), to teach web journalism at Fojo.

Gitta: I managed a one week web journalism seminar at Fojo, with a group of independent Belarus journalists and held some lectures for Belarus journalist students, from the Istitute of Journalism, Zjurfak, at the Belarus State University, BGU. Being the teacher I learned a lot about their situation. Freedom of expression is not to be taken for granted.

Thanks to Fredrik Wackå, Lotta got invited to the university in Karlstad to speak about the role of journalists in future media.

Lotta: I was asked who else they should invite, and thus got the opportunity to suggest Robin Hamman of (then) the BBC and to meet him and discuss the Manchester blogging project I had been following since 2006.

Guestblogging at Mindpark
Will there be a dark period for journalism? Some thoughts after listening to the journalism debate at SIME 2008. Also published in Swedish at Mindpark. Joakim Jardenberg is a keen Creative Commons advocate, and he also blogged about our SIME interview with Joi Ito.

Gitta: I has been an honour to collaborate with Joakim Jardenberg as a member of the Mindpark blogging team. Both Lotta and I admire his will to unrelentingly guard the soul of the web.

 


We had a talk with Joi Ito about hyperlocal citizen media and Creative Commons, among other things.
Photo: Lotta Holmström

Joi Ito: Don’t sign bad licenses. Our meeting with Joi Ito, and a discussion about hyperlocal citizen media.

Gitta: Our meeting with Joi Ito was one the memorable experiences from my time with CMW. Creative Commons is one of the most interesting movement on the Internet.

The future of journalism
The shift from megaphone to discussion partner was a major one, and is probably the one topic we’ve covered the most. Here are some of our posts on the matter.

Personal transparency, the eleventh change for journalism and Personal journalism, the future of online reporting. Some thoughts on the role of future journalists.

Sandra Jakob at HD.se – It’s not laziness, it is fear. One of many geek girls with great ideas in a series of video interviews.

The Lebanese ambulance attack and trust in citizen – and established – media. On trustable sources, bias, traditional media and the blogosphere.

Swedish news sites narrowing the gap to the blogosphere and The Twingly effect. When Swedish news sites first connected to the blogosphere.

Lotta: I was working at Aftonbladet in February 2006 when they started Läsarbladet, The Readers’ Daily, and I became Readers’ Editor. It was an attempt to engage the readers to contribute with journalistic material to the site, and to create an alternative starting point with the most read and liked stuff in focus, as opposed to the editors’ choices.

It soon became obvious that as an online tabloid it was easy to get readers to send us great photos of their cats and creative gingerbread houses, but enormously difficult to get initiated articles from readers on today’s topics. Later Newsmill proved it could be done, though in the form of opinion material, and also showed the need for asking the right questions.


Gitta and Lotta with Ruiwen Chua and Sriram Krishnan from NUS.
Photo: Brendalene Tan

Students of Singapore conferences and the social media bubble on Jaiku
Hej! 2007 live updates. Live blogging from Hej! 2007 and meeting all the great people there, who soon conversed on microblogging service Jaiku.
Why Jaiku outshines Twitter. Fond memories from the Jaiku era.

Gitta: I worked and lived in Singapore, year 2000–2001, starting up the Icon Medialab office. When the NUS guys invited us, parts of what later should be named as ”Bubblan” on Jaiku, to their KTH projects, I felt like home. I would like to send all my love to: Sriram, Ruiwen, Ramkumar and Mahesh.

Lotta: Hej!2007 and the following Stockholm NUS events showed us Swedes what unconferencing was all about, and led the way to great (un)conferences like SSWC and Annika Lidne’s Disruptive Media conference series with integrated Twitter feeds on display. I really enjoyed going to Singapore with Gitta and meeting up with the NUS guys again in 2008.

The blogosphere

Blogging is of course a great tool for citizen media, and it’s gone from a marginal activity to becoming mainstream.
How many Swedish blogs are there? An attempt to sum up the Swedish blogosphere in 2007 which got some attention.

CMW <3 geek girls
We were invited on a bloggers pass at Sime 2008, thank you Andie och Mahesh. Since we are two proud GeekGirls we took the opportunity to talk to YouTube phenomenon Mia Rose about her music and techie geekiness. The interview put on Youtube has reached over 17 000 fans, so far.

Mia Rose: Portray yourself with your true colours. An interview that attracted a large and quite different readership than we were used to.

Things we wish we had devoted more time to
Where’s the money? A lot of citizen journalism projects met an early end due to lack of resources. Backfence is one of many examples.

Backfence’s Mark Potts: We’re re-evaluating our strategy. Email interview with the Backfence co-founder after I posted Trouble at Backfence?

Being successful using the web to collaborate and ask for material for making hardcover books sounds kind of awkward in the era of the ebook, but it works really well for Fredrik and Teo Hären. There are lots of more examples and yes we should have written all about them.

• Teo Härén about their series of Idea books: Invite, collaborate and share – the money

Gitta: I would liked to been able to write more about business opportunities made wisely, on the web and via communication social media.

Lotta: Starting out we were examining a fairly new territory. My focus was on understanding it and its future implications. I think now that perhaps we should have moved on sooner to looking at the revenue aspect, even though we did address it some. I guess the main reason I didn’t focus much on it is that it’s not what makes me tick. I’m a sucker for creative ideas not too limited by the harsh reality of economics.

From now om Citizen Media Watch is a landmark only, but this is not a goodbye, this is a HELLO!

Lotta: lottaholmstrom.se (sw/en), skriva.net (sw) & Saychee.se (en, photo blog)

Gitta: Digitalstorytelling.se (in Swedish only).

Lotta Holmström & Gitta Wilén


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oktober 12th, 2009

The Guardian to contract bloggers for local news

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

While Swedish national papers have moved away from local news initiatives, as local advertising markets are not ready to support costly coverage, there are examples in other countries of how to build coverage by collaborating with local bloggers. The most recent comes from the Guardian, who are looking to contract bloggers in Leeds, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Media and technology reporter Mercedes Bunz reports:

”Guardian Local is a small-scale experimental approach to local newsgathering. We are focusing on three politically engaged cities and we expect to launch in early 2010,” said Emily Bell, the director of digital development at Guardian News & Media. Sarah Hartley, the Guardian local launch editor said: ”While researching developments at the grassroots of community journalism, I’ve been impressed by the range and depth of coverage from local websites and blogs. This experimental project reflects both the shifting nature of journalism and the reality on the ground.”

The focus is on local political decision making, and Bunz draws a parallell to the public subsidy NPR has received in the States, pondering if this might be a model for the UK too. Another option is funding from organizations like the Knight Foundation.

In Sweden we’ve seen several local newspapers/sites collaborating with bloggers for local and hyperlocal news (one recent example is Smålandsposten’s Mitt Lammhult), but the national papers seem less prone to. The largest daily Aftonbladet still has its locally contracted bloggers on the larger cities’ pages on Bloggportalen – for instance Norrköpingsbloggen on the Norrköping page – but with the loss of the local sections on Aftonbladet.se I doubt they get much public or journalistic attention. A lot of them are no longer active.
At the same time there are cities and even whole regions who lack journalists covering them, reports Swedish journalists’ union’s paper Journalisten (unfortunately I can’t find the article available online).
It’s not a problem in itself if national media skip local coverage as long as there are local initiatives – by journalistic sites of bloggers with an interest in these issues. Where they’re lacking, though, there’s a danger that corruption spreads.

(via Jeff Jarvis)

Disclaimer: I am a former employee of Aftonbladet.se.


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januari 18th, 2009

Citizen media rules! $5 million to local journalism projects in the US

Posted by Gitta Wilen

There is a truly interesting trend going on in the US, supported by the Knight Foundation. Local media gets the money and support. An important movement in days of economical depression.

Read Write Web writes:

”While the Knight Foundation’s endowment has been hurt by the current economic climate, the Foundation is still committed to granting a total of $24 million to local media projects over the next five years.

As the newspaper industry still continues on its downward spiral, with more and more local papers facing bankruptcy, these citizen media projects will be able to fill the need for better local news in quite a few communities around the country. In Connecticut, for example, a new local news site will be staffed with a mix of professional and citizen journalists, after the town had lost both its newspaper and local radio station in the last decade.”

CMW has been writing about Swedish hyperlocal blogging. Maybe this is the way to go? A good mix of citizen contributors and professional journalists. The local content is best found local and it is worth the money.

The Knight Foundation believes it is about democracy:

At Knight Foundation, we firmly believe that you cannot effectively manage the affairs of a community in a democracy without the free flow of information.

That’s why we believe that information is a core community need, as critical as any to a healthy community,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation’s president and CEO.

Citizen Media Watch wants to thank Joakim Jardenberg at Mindpark for having a conversation with us about this subject. How will local newspaper be able to make enough money online to be able to survive? And it is like Joakim says: ”Riktigt djävla hårda fakta” – Really … hard facts.


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november 18th, 2008

Will there be a dark period for journalism?

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Will we see the collapse of journalism as papers fail to take the step over from dead wood publishing? Or are we at a dawn of a smarter news industry? Opinions vary, and we take a look at what some are saying right now.

Joi Ito at SIME '08At SIME, Joi Ito expressed concerns that professional journalism journalism may perish.
– It would be very difficult for a blogger to get a military unit to fly them into Sudan to cover that in first-hand. It would also be very difficult when you write a scathing article about corruption in Singapore to fight the libel suit you get from Lee Kuan Yew and try to stay out of jail. Legal protection against libel suits and also heavily funded first-person war journalism, that’s going to be a while before amateurs will be able to deal with that, he said, and continued:
– I think that everywhere where we’re losing the revenues of physical distribution or transaction costs, whether that’s the financial markets affording analysts or whether it’s academic journalism affording peer review, all these professionals that used to be hired to deal with quality are being put out of business because the distribution can’t afford to pay those guys anymore, they’re all suffering from the same thing. I think bloggers and all the amateurs will pick up a bunch of that, but there’s still going to be this gap. I think it’s going to be a while before we get organized enough. And I’m afraid that professional journalism may collapse before we pick up, and there may be a kind of a ”dark period” when we can’t send people to Sudan or we don’t have the ability to fight against the biggotous people that we ought to be going after.

David Sifry at SIME '08David Sifry thinks the future of journalism lies within the blogosphere.
– I think we actually have a responsibility, given the fact that we are all disintermediating these big media companies, to make sure that we can find a way to help make sure that journalism survives.

Joi Ito and David Sifry in a panel debate about blogging and journalism during SIME 2008.

Joakim JardenbergYesterday, Joakim Jardenberg of Mindpark wrote a long blog post describing the steps necessary for a paper distribution-dependent local newspaper to make enough money online to be able to survive without the paper edition, should that be necessary. It’s in Swedish, so I’ll take you through his main points.

His solution has three parts: having enough visitors, knowing/keeping track of visitors and using advanced mechanisms to match them with advertisers. Like Jardenberg says, this is no rocket science and behavioural targeting is nothing new. But it hasn’t been evolved enough, and that’s why Jardenberg’s take is interesting. He gives an example with real figures from local paper Helsingborgs Dagblad, and he’s pretty convincing. They need a 40 percent share of the money spent on local advertising in their area to make it.
Though the solution can be explained in a few simple steps, those are not easy steps to take, and Jardenberg is aware of it. He lists these obstacles (my translation):

  • Technology isn’t quite mature enough. But with baby steps in the right directions we’ll make it in time.
  • Local sites might lose their relevance. Without an audience the revenue model collapses.
  • We might not have the stamina. This won’t pay off tomorrow. Count on 5-10 years to reach those 40% in a healthy way.
  • Our sales force is immature, we still sell paper ads online. Our main advantage, our local sales people, are also those who need to change the most.

Joakim Jardenberg's slide on HD's reach
A slide in a presentation by Joakim Jardenberg about the decline in Helsingborg Dagblad’s reach.

Jardenberg goes into more detail, and has interesting ideas about data collection and transparency, so if you’re interested, here’s a rough translation of the text through Google Translate. On the whole, he is optimistic about the future of journalism.

The death of local relevance, as mentioned by Jardenberg above, is one of two threats addressed by Jonathan Kay in a blog post at Canada’s National Post’s Comment section’s blog, Full Comment. Kay talks about saving the print media, but this could well be applied to local journalism on the whole.
Kay writes:

The breakdown of Canadians’ sense of community has also contributed to newspapers’ challenges. Slogging through stories about the people who share your city, your province or your country makes sense only if you feel a sense of emotional investment in your neighbours. But in a globalized age, an increasing share of Canadians don’t feel that way. As office-bound yuppies, they commune with their distant college-era friends using Facebook or email, but don’t know the names of the people they pass on their street.

Kay’s other point is the death of spare time. If people don’t have time to read, journalism is in trouble. Print even more so. The three types of print media that will survive are, according to Kay:

(1) Business-oriented media that cater to older, more affluent readers of the type who can justify the expense of long-form news consumption (in both time and money) as a work activity.

(2) Premium publications that cater to the ideologically involved and intellectually upscale

(3) The hyperlocal.

As Kay is talking about the survival of print, I am a bit surprised about his third point. I think hyperlocal is one of the areas where the web can bring so much more than a print product, as it’s all about communication and round the clock updates.
But then, hyperlocal sites are struggling. When Gitta and I talked to Joi Ito a few days ago, he said hyperlocal is failing because local businesses aren’t mature enough online. I think that’s a valid point, and I believe that once they mature and more and more people expect to find hyperlocal news online, this is a very interesting area.

My own take is that journalism will survive and come out stronger and better through this media shift, though it will take a few years of struggle. And it may not look exactly like it does today at the end of it. Which is probably a good thing.

Update: There’s a Swedish version of this text availble at Mindpark where we were invited to guest blog.


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november 13th, 2008

Joi Ito: Don't sign bad licenses

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Joi Ito at SIME'08

Citizen Media Watch met with blogging veteran, super-entrepreneur and CEO of Creative Commons Joi Ito during the SIME conference in Stockholm. He told us about how he (possibly) made the New York Times change their contract for freelance material, and he sent a message to anyone wanting to make it as a semi-pro or pro journalist or photographer.

Joi ItoMainstream media is struggling with how to use photos with Creative Commons licensing. The reason is they’re not used to attribution models, but rather to pay the photographer and get the exclusive rights for the photo, says Joi Ito.
But they are starting to learn.
– They’re realising that atleast for certain situations and certain people it’s impossible to get a photograph in time. They’re realising it’s a resource. They’re starting to learn the rules, says Joi Ito, who saw a lot of abuse of the license in the early days.

He reveals that it took him three years of refusing to sign the New York Times’s standard contract after having written an article for them before they gave in – and actually changed it for everyone. At first they simply wanted the exclusive rights, period. Now the contract says they get the exclusives for one month, then you can re-use it in any way you want.
– But they changed. It took me three years of saying no no no. You just have to keep working. Don’t sign bad licenses, advices Joi Ito.

This is part of a longer interview also addressing the need for new business models, why hyperlocal journalism is failing and the two ways for photographers to make money. We’ve made the full-length uncut interview available on our blip.tv account. It is licensed under a creative commons license.

A big thanks to Joakim Jardenberg who pinpointed one of the questions for Mr Ito. And to Björn Falkevik for the filming/camera crash-course.

/Lotta & Gitta

Joi Ito at SIME'08


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november 10th, 2008

A warm welcome to Gitta Wilén

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Gitta WilénI am happy to welcome Gitta Wilén as co-writer/partner here at Citizen Media Watch. Gitta and I go back a long way. We first met in the 90s when the web industry was still a fairly small and manageable space to play around in. Back in the days we were both board members of OPK, an association for women in this business. We arranged seminars with interesting guests and gave eachother advice on various mailing lists.

Gitta is also my travelling partner, and we’ve explored parts of Asia together. She used to work in Singapore, where we spent a couple of weeks this spring. We’ve taken Creative Writing in English together and through that course we’ve travelled to the UK and the Czech republic.

She’s a fighter, both literally through martial arts and as a person. She’s very dedicated and works hard, whether it’s script-writing for interactive media, web editing or one of her various spare time projects. Already she’s been a guest blogger here a couple of times, writing about citizen media in Brazil and hyperlocal journalism in Åsbro. She will bring a somewhat different perspective to Citizen Media Watch, and I believe two voices speak better than one.
You’ll find Gitta’s presentation in the About section.


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mars 12th, 2008

Personal transparency, the eleventh change for journalists

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

A lot of comments have been made to Paul Bradshaw’s (read his blog too) excellent list of changes for journalists in the upcoming ten years in the Press Gazette lately. In short, the list is made up of:

1. From a lecture to a conversation
2. The rise of the amateur
3. Everyone’s a paperboy/girl now
4. Measurability
5. Hyperlocal, international
6. Multimedia
7. Really Simple Syndication
8. Maps
9. Databases
10. Just a click away

I’d like to add an eleventh change/challenge for journalists. One that is closely connected to no. 1, but I think it deserves it’s own mention.

11. Personal transparency

As a consequence of blogs, wikis and citizen media sites becoming more important sources of information for the general public, I think we’ll see a new awareness of the importance of trust, and knowing who your source of information is. Bloggers are often open about what their views are and who they are affiliated with. If they’re not, you bet someone else will find out and make it public.

I am convinced this openness will be demanded of journalists as well. You might not need to reveal details about your private life, but you will need to give your readers/viewers/listeners an idea och what you represent. This is an important distinction, since for instance journalists working with sensitive information, infiltrating or walraffing will need to remain fairly anonymous when it comes to for instance how they look and sometimes even what their names are in order to do their job well. But they can still build up trust. Swedish blogger Beta Alfa is a good example that you do not need to reveal your real name in order to achieve this. Being open about your affiliations, for instance, and anything else that might influence or be suspected to influence your work, is a good start. Also simple things like providing a list of links to what you’ve written before on a subject.
I call this personal transparency.


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december 23rd, 2007

Hyper local – Åsbro

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

I once more welcome Gitta Wilén as a guest contributor here at Citizen Media Watch. This time she has interviewed a hyperlocal blogger, Alf Fransson.

Alf Fransson, hyperlocal blogger in Åsbro, Sweden.

Map over ÅsbroAlf Fransson, 69, is blogging about a small area 1.3 Swedish miles from Askersund in Närke, Sweden. By putting up his own placards at the local petrol station/grocery store, he has managed to engage the people who are living in the area to read and to give response to his blog material.

The Åsbro blog has been up and running since the beginning of this November 2007. Fransson says that he got inspired to start blogging by his stepdaughter. The address for the blog is estabo.blogspot.com. Estabo is the name of the place in Åsbro where Fransson lives.
– I did not want to use the blog address ”asbro”, because it is Swedish for something else but Åsbro, he laughs.

There are 1.600 people living in Åsbro and Fransson’s blog is about things which concern the inhabitants: ”Do we need efficient street-lighting?”, ”Why is there cable worth over a million lying down by the lake ‘Åsasjön’?” and ”What is going on at the Åsbro kursgård?”

Fransson has been visiting and writing about the companies in the area. One of the companies is Alfapac, which is Åsbro’s largest industry and employs about 80 people.
– It gives me the chance to satisfy my own curiosity as well as getting material for my blog, he says.

BirdThere are some musicians and authors living in Åsbro and Fransson has plans for future blogging:
– I am thinking about interviewing people. I would like to write about personalities in the field of culture, he says.

Fransson also wants to blog about interesting places to visit in the area. Not so well known excursion spots.
– Most of the people do not see the beauty of their own neighbourhood, Fransson says and adds:
– There is an old sacrificial well situated in the forest that I would like to show to you and my readers.


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