Citizen Media Watch

juni 12th, 2007

Singapore – a small place with big online influence

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Sriram Krishnan and Justin Lee

Sriram Krishnan talked about media landscapes in Singapore. It was meant to be a joint presentation with his friend Justin Lee in Singapore, but that didn’t quite work out. Probably because the internet connetion here really sucks.
Anyway, Singapore is interesting because of it’s small size yet prominent position online. Sriram showed that out of the top ten search terms on Technorati, two were individuals from Singapore.
The reason? Part of the explanation is that Singaporeans are early adopters, they have good infrastucture, pick up trends from Japan and Europe.
The younger generation want to express themselves more. There are more blogs than youths in Singapore, Sriram Krishnan said.
The government, ”Gahmen”, is revamping schools with tablet pcs, podcasts and other high-tech stuff. But they also set limits to what you can say and do both irl and online.
– The sedition act says you can’t speak your mind. If you do and it’s considered to be dissatisfactory to the governement, you’ll be put in jail.
Krishnan showed a site called Stomp, which is the gahmen’s answer to web2.0 for young people.
– In my opinion it’s failed miserably. It’s a bad site.
There’s also content regulation online. The govenment wants to preserve traditional Asian values. Political bloggers needed to register prior to the elections in 2006, and podcasts were banned altogether.

To check out all my photos from Podcamp, check out to my Podcamp Flickr set.


juni 2nd, 2007

Law enforcement in virtual worlds

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Interesting Washington Post piece on law enforcement in virtual worlds like Second Life or the game World of Warcraft.

Two years ago, Japanese authorities arrested a man for carrying out a series of virtual muggings in another popular game, Lineage II, by using software to beat up and rob characters in the game and then sell the virtual loot for real money.

The key question is whether for instance rape, child abuse, mugging and killing online should be compared to these acts in the real world. And if so, which country’s laws should the crimes fall under.

Philip Rosedale, the founder and chief executive of Linden Labs, said in an interview that Second Life activities should be governed by real-life laws for the time being. He recounted, for example, that his company has called in the FBI several times, most recently this spring to ensure that Second Life’s virtual casinos complied with U.S. law. Federal investigators created their own avatars and toured the site, he said.

In coming months, his company plans to disperse tens of thousands of computer servers from California and Texas to countries around the world in order to improve the site’s performance. Also, he said, this will make activities on those servers subject to laws of the host countries.

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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.


april 27th, 2007

Verdens Gang: Online edition larger than the paper

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

VG NettMore people now read the Norwegian daily Verdens Gang on the net than read the paper edition, according to TNS Gallup.
– It’s a milestone, says VG Nett editor Torry Pedersen to in an interview.
VG Nett is now the largest news source in Norway. I think part of the success comes from VG’s strong reader focus. They started their blog services early, have a very active forum, and at Lesernes VG they bring all user activities together in an editorial context. The latest hit is of course Nettby, a user-created news site.

Disclosure disclaimer: VG is Aftonbladet’s sister paper, with many collaborations between the sites.

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april 13th, 2007

OhMyNews goes 2.0

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Next month the ground-breaking South Korean citizen media site OhMyNews will relaunch as ”OhMyNews 2.0”. The new site’s aspiration is to attract 100 000 volunteering contributors (today: 43 000) within the next three years, writes Dagens Medier.

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mars 20th, 2007

Twittervision – see the world twitter

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom


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.


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 7th, 2007

Citizen journalists banned from video reporting of violence in France

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

In France, neither filming nor broadcasting violent content is allowed for anyone else than professional journalists. This is the result of a law that’s recently been approved by the French Constitutional Council, writes InfoWorld. This disturbing news has met with outrage from bloggers and anyone concerned about free speech. The fact that the decision was published on the date of the Rodney King beating hasn’t exactly made the council look any better. The police officers who beat Rodney King were filmed by a citizen journalist.

Reporters without borders issued a statement voicing their concern about the law being a threat to free speech.

The sections of this law supposedly dealing with ‘happy slapping’ in fact have a much broader scope, and posting videos online showing violence against people could now be banned, even if it were the police who were carrying out the violence

Happy slapping is when a gang beats up someone, films the event and spreads the film – just for ”fun”. This is what the law is meant to prevent, but as it is written, it will effect citizen journalists doing important work.
Reporters without borders goes on to talk about how important ordinary citizens are as ”recorders” of the authorities’ activities around the world, naming Egypt as a recent example where bloggers have revealed scandals involving security services. Video recording played an essential part in revealing the widespread use of torture.

In the field of human rights, it is them and not professional journalists who have been responsible for the most reliable reports and information – the information that has most upset the government. Reporters Without Borders thinks it would be shocking if this kind of activity, which constitutes a safeguard against abuses of authority, were to be criminalized in a democratic country.

Odebi, a civil liberties group in France, has collected some of the response to the news.

In Sweden, anyone can actually be a journalist in the sense that there is no required education you have to have in order to call yourself a journalist. You need to work as a journalist to be a member of the journalists union and get a press card though.
I am not sure how this works in France, but I am assuming they have some kind of journalist card to define who’s a professional journalist. If not, it would be interesting to know how they distinguish between citizen and professional journalists. And what about journalists who blog on their free time? If I, for instance, would film a French police officer beating up an innocent person, and I would blog about it here, would that be against the French law? I don’t blog here as a journalist, but as a citizen.

(via Beta Alfa)

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mars 2nd, 2007

Brazil's no. 1 online newspaper – and its bloggers | Guest post by Birgitta Wilén

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Birgitta Wilén visits Folha Online in São Paulo, finds out about how they work with blogs, and ends up eating and talking about great food.
I enjoyed reading Birgitta’s story and invited her to publish a guest post here at Citizen Media Watch.

Folha Online. Photo: Birgitta Wilén

Folha Online is the most important online newspaper in Brazil and the editorial office is situated in São Paulo.
Folha went online seven years ago. Fifty people work in shifts; there is always someone there to update the news, in the open landscape office.
The website has about 700 000–1 million visitors per day. The number of Internet users in Brazil, and their online time, is increasing fast.

I check in as a visitor and the information board in the lobby tells me that it takes about four buildings to host the Folha Online, the Folha Newspaper and the Internet portal OUL, which Folha Online is a part of.

Ricardo Feltrin. Photo: Birgitta WilénRicardo Feltrin, 44 years old and the chief web editor, shows me the editorial office.
– People want to read about gossip and, in second place, about news, he says.
Ricardo has been working as a journalist for 16 years and he runs the web TV show ”Ooops!”
It is all about national and international celebrities. The click rate is very good.
It is to be found on their Internet portal OUL. And Ricardo himself is a well-known character in São Paulo.

After being introduced to the staff and a quick walk through the website, it is time for lunch.
– What I would prefer to eat? You can find anything you want here in São Paulo, Ricardo says.
We grab a taxi and make the short trip from downtown SP to the part of the city that is called ”Liberdade”. It is the Japanese district and a result of the labour immigration from the Asian country during the 19th century. It made São Paulo the ”second city of Japan”.

We enjoy: dumplings, stuffed squid, extra ordinary sushi, and sashimi, while talking a bout life, travelling and Folha Online’s future.
Ricardo is worried. The owner of Folha (the Newspaper) and Folha Online is Octavio Friar de Oliviera. He is 94 years old and no one really knows what might happen when he is not around anymore.

Birgitta and Ricardo. Photo: Birgitta WilénWe are having tempura (deep fried) ice cream for desert. This is one of the best Japanese restaurant is São Paulo. The artist behind the counter creates wonderful little masterpieces and you are allowed to bring you own fish and get it prepared.

In the taxi back to the Folha, I ask Ricardo Feltrin if they are using any user generated material, like blogs, on Folha Online?
He tells me that they only have their own bloggers, which are already connected to Folha Online.
Their first blog was the political blog and the author Josias de Souza did his first posting in October 2005. He was followed by Sonia Francine Gaspar Marmo. She writes about sport, a culture blog, a blog about gay people and a seven more blogs.

Marcelo Katsuki. Photo: Birgitta WilénOne of the Folha online bloggers is Marcelo Katsuki. He is 38 years old and works as a graphic designer at the online paper.
The name of his blog is ”Comes & bebes” (food & drink). He tries to do at least one posting per day.
– I wanted to learn how to cook and did cookery course, he says and smiles.
Marcelo did hesitate when he was asked if he wanted to start a blog and write about food, drinks and cooking.
– There are people writing about gastronomy for the Folha newspaper and they are very good, but I decided to have a try, Marcelo says.
He did his first posting in August 2006.

His blog is divided in to a couple of different sections, which makes it possible to squeeze in about everything that falls with in the area of food.
He still has to buy the cookery books that he writes about.
– My friends tell me that I should not do that, but it is my hobby, Marcelo says.
His favourite cuisines are Thai, Brazilian-Bahian and Japanese.
– Normally I get about 5–10 comments on every posting. At first they were complaining about my writing, but now I am mostly getting positive comments, he says and gives me a kiss on the cheek, the way you do in Brazil, when we say good buy.

I guess I have to send a Swedish cookbook to Marcelo, when I get back to Stockholm. Even though Ricardo Feltrin tells me that he has heard that Sweden has got not quite so good food, but very nice women ; )

Birgitta Wilén, São Paulo, Brazil.

Read more about blogging and newspapers in Brazil at the International Symposium of Online Journalism

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februari 13th, 2007

Baiduer launches English language version of blog

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Baiduer, a blog focused on immensely popular Chinese search engine Baidu, is now available in English. Since December, Baidu also has a blog search engine, so Baiduer could potentially become a good source for news about the Chinese blogosphere.


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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