Citizen Media Watch

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 – 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: (sw/en), (sw) & (en, photo blog)

Gitta: (in Swedish only).

Lotta Holmström & Gitta Wilén

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