Citizen Media Watch

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 11th, 2008

Camilla Lindberg: You need to be right – and earn the trust

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Over at Same Same But Different there’s an interesting guest post by politician Camilla Lindberg, the only member of one of the government parties in Sweden who voted against the new and controversial wiretapping law, commonly known as the FRA law.
The debate about the law was a real breakthrough for the Swedish blogosphere (which to a large extent celebrated Lindberg as a hero for voting against her own party), but in her guest post Camilla Lindberg says this does not mean that bloggers can always rely on being taken more seriously from now on.

Lindberg writes (my translation):

The blogosphere won the FRA debate because it was right. It was an issue that was pretty much dead everywhere else. It touched a nerve, it made people react. And – although not each individual blogger could get all the technical facts of a very complex issue right – it was possible to discuss it on a fundamental level.

Lindberg expresses criticism against the mass-emailing staged by evening paper Expressen, which urged people to copy a text about the FRA law and send it to all the members of the Swedish Riksdag. She thinks this is a form of spam rather than a good way to communicate people’s opinions to decision makers. There blogs are a better option, and Lindberg stresses their role as opinion media.

She writes (again, my translation):

Blogs are first and foremost opinion based media. When competing with tv or papers that have greater resources for investigative journalism, fact checking and the like, they are underdogs, even if they can compensate for this somewhat through networking. But misconceptions and errors can still spread through blogging networks. In such cases you lose credibility.

And she concludes:

The lesson to learn is that the impact of a medium depends on trust. Trust is volatile. You have to nurture it, or you will lose your readers.


(Video clip from the demonstration outside the Riksdag, which to a great extent came to pass because of activism from bloggers)


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oktober 23rd, 2008

12seconds.tv brings citizens' voices to established media

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

12seconds.tv, a lifestreaming/commentary/microblogging service in video format currently in beta, is becoming a popular tool for bringing people’s opinion to established media sites. The site’s built on really short video clips (12 seconds, duh!) recorded by webcams or cellphones. Quick and simple ways to publish oneself, and the time restriction takes away some of the prestige.

Today the BBC is collaborating with the site by sponsoring the feature called ”the 12second challenge”, a daily question that users reply to. Users get to reply to the question ”Economic downturn – how bad can it get? Give some examples.” The replies may then appear on BBC TV.

Further, 12seconds.tv today announced to its users plans to involve them in extensive coverage of the US election day.

In an email to the service’s users, the 12seconds team writes:

Citizen Journalism is pretty important for the health of a democracy. For this reason, we’re going to put a lot of effort into Election Day. Where appropriate (and legal) we’d like 12ers covering reactions, parties, exit polls and emotions on November 4th all over the world. We’re assembling a team of people and will feature their content on Election Day.


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juni 10th, 2008

YouTube gets new citizen media channel – and beef over censorship

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Going through old posts on Beta Alfa’s blog, I found a post about YouTube’s new Citizen Media channel, Citizen News. They’ve appointed a News Manager and aim to collect news from citizen sources in one place, as a citizen news and interviews channel.

News Manager Olivia M calls out:

So here’s where I turn to you guys for help! If you see examples of fellow YouTubers doing great work in journalism and reporting, please let me know. If you’re a citizen journalist yourself, tell me how YouTube could better serve you. I want to hear how you guys envision news on YouTube and what you’d like to see. My ultimate mission is to make the site a go-to destination for news on the web.

A good ambition, for sure. But after 18 text replies, Olivia hasn’t yet got back to the users commenting her post. And with comments as this one, dated May 26, I feel it’s urgent that she should, if she wants this effort to be taken seriously:

We are very concerned about YouTube’s implementation of geolocational censorship in Thailand and elsewhere. How do you intend to distribute real news to its intended audience without being compromised by YouTube’s secret agreement with Thai government? Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT)

Wishing Olivia and the YouTube the best of luck with the initiative, and hoping to see a bit more interaction with the users.


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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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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

Tjuvlyssnat.se 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 Bloggportalen.se, 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.

Tjuvlyssnat.se 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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april 16th, 2007

PodCamp Europe – Sweden's first unconference – to be held in Stockholm

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Anyone who can make it to Stockholm on June 12-13 should check out PodCamp Europe. I’m quite excited to hear about what is most likely Sweden’s first unconference. The concept is that the knowledge stems from the audience, so everyone is a potential speaker. And yeah, the event is free!
I’ve registered and really hope to make it.

What is PodCamp Europe? It’s an UnConference of podcasters, bloggers, and new media professionals & amateurs for two days to share, explore, challenge, and grow our abilities in new media. Learn about audio and video podcasting, blogging, photography, Second Life, Twitter, and all kinds of other new and social media tools. Whether you’re a veteran or interested in getting started, PodCamp is for YOU.

(via Media Culpa)


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mars 20th, 2007

Twittervision – see the world twitter

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Twittervision

A lot of Twitter mashups have popped up lately. The latest that I’ve tried out is Twittervision, a live world view where twits show in real time. It’s rather addictive watching people’s actions described all over the globe. I’m still pretty hooked on Twitter, and I like that they keep developing the service. Though the increase in numbers of users have caused them some server problems. At times today it’s been impossible to reach the site. Hopefully they’ll fix it soon.

Twittervision is in beta, and is a service from David Troy, who’s also behind Twittermap, which is also pretty cool. You can type in your location and see what others in your area are twittering about. I found myself in Stockholm, though since I haven’t given an exact address it’s not actually where I was at the time of twittering.

Twittermap

When Twitter adds gps data, this will be really interesting. Now the locations are often pinned wrong, twits from people travelling show up in their home town.

Troy is also behind Twittersearch, a search engine for Twitter.

There are also a large number of Twitter widgets to use on blogs or other sites. Twitter has added to their own widgets, or badges as they call them, letting users display the latest twits from their added contacts. Here’s an example on my personal blog.


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mars 2nd, 2007

Trig.com open to the public

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Trig.com user profileTrig.com today opened up for anyone to join. The Sweden-based music community site has got quite a bit of attention since they opened up for beta applications, and it will be interesting to see how the site develops now that it’s fully live. ”We’re still in beta mode, adding new features and squishing bugs”, the Trig team announced to its members, but now the user profiles are open for anyone to look at. For an example, check out my test profile (no blog content though).

Trig’s timeline browserNow that the site is live and I no longer have to obey the non-disclosure agreement, I guess I can go into detail about the stuff I like on Trig. The Timeline Content Browser is one such cool solution. You can browse Trig content in a timeline, letting you see how it changes over time (most trigged songs, profiles and blogs). Also the Live’n’Direct page which features the latest logged in users, latest uploaded pics and songs, and also a shout box where you can shout stuff to the community (nothing that hasn’t been tried before elsewhere though). Over all, I like the feel of the site, but am not sure how much usage it will get and if it’s a real contender to MySpace. I hope so though. It definitely has a nicer appeal.

Previous posts about trig.com:
A look at trig.com and the possible fall of Lunarstorm


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