Citizen Media Watch

november 11th, 2008

SIME preparations

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

This week it’s the yearly SIME (Scandinavian Interactive Media Event) conference here in Stockholm. Previous years I’ve found it remarkable that a conference about ”digital opportunities, technology, communication and entrepreneurship” haven’t given much thought to the audience’s want to communicate and use these ”digital opportunities” during the conference itself (no or badly working wifi, no backchannels, no bloggers invited etc). This year there seems to be a change of attitude. Citizen Media Watch is one of 14 invited bloggers who have been given Blogger Press Passes to the event. Many thanks!

This means that we’ll be covering SIME for two days – Wednesday and Thursday this week. We’ll be bambusing, taking photos, possibly live blogging, definitely microblogging, and also making a few video interviews that will appear on our channel a bit later on.

Today Gitta and I met to plan our SIME coverage. Here’s what some of it looked like.

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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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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.


oktober 28th, 2008

Socialmedian focuses US election coverage on a special site

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

SocialMedian, the somewhat evolved digg-clone for social news and news tracking, has set up a special site for anything related to the US election. is the place to check out if you want to debate and share news, tweets and pics about the election. There’s also a special widget to put on your blog or homepage.

Atleast two mainstream media houses have signed up for using the widget: The WashingtonPost and The Guardian. The election site is co-presented by the Washington Post.


oktober 23rd, 2008 brings citizens' voices to established media

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom, 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, 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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oktober 22nd, 2008

More conversation needed on journalists' blogs

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

On too many blogs written by Swedish journalists you see people commenting but the journalist never replies. They use a platform built on conversation as yet another megaphone, ignoring their readers. What journalists turned bloggers need to understand is that providing a space for comments is not enough – if you want to be taken seriously as a blogger you need to get involved with your former audience, not just invite them to chat amongst themselves.

Over the past week, Paul Bradshaw over at Online Journalism Blog has been publishing a series of posts based on a survey he’s conducted with 200 blogging journalists from 30 countries, mentioned ealier here at Citizen Media Watch.
The aim of the study was to find out how the journalists perceive that their work has changed after they became bloggers. The areas of interest are idea generation, information gathering and production, with the addition of the relationship with the (former) audience and post-publication.

Today the final post was published along with the conclusions from the survey. I do recommend reading all the posts about it. The results shows variations in responses depending on what field the journalists cover and in what medium.

For a summary, what the journalists perceived had changed were:
– their understanding of their audience’s wants and needs (through feedback and stats) and an improved relationship with the audience
– their work-process, which included the former audience in the research phase before a story was published, as a ”two-way, ongoing process”, sometimes crowdsourcing
– they thought more about multimedia and interactivity, and published more multimedia material
– a wider range of news sources, and with that a deeper understanding of how trust is built online
– a greater need for speed, sometimes beneficial, sometimes resulting in publishing rumours
– they said they are digging deeper than before
– writing looser, more personal and less formal
– they broke news on the blog first, then followed up in their traditional medium
– possibilities of exploring ”minor” stories that barely made it into their traditional medium
– more linking to external sources/stories
– stories last longer, as the conversation with the former audience lives on and generates new angles/leads
– an increased tendency to use microblogging and social bookmarking to draw attention to a story
– they appreciate other bloggers more than before

The part I found the most interesting was the bit about the conversation. I’ve long been talking about the changed role of the journalist, and being interested in what your commenters have to say, and responding to it, is key.

Bradshaw writes:

The ability to enter into correspondence with users, to fix errors and post updates were frequently identified as changing journalistic work, turning on its head Lowrey’s sugestion that bloggers “often emphasise immediacy and opinion at the expense of accuracy” (2006) and that journalism would protect itself by focusing on editing; responses suggest that, conversely, journalists are relying on commenters to contribute to the editing process.

Without an interest in the audience, blogging is not a conversation. Without conversation, you’re missing some of the great opportunities that blogging brings.

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juni 27th, 2008

Citizen journalism's big impact in Korea

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Interesting piece over at TechnoKimchi on the protests against president Lee Myung-Bak in Korea and how it all came about through citizen journalism:

How did it happen so quickly? This is the fun part. Lee is a very conservative guy, who still believes in ”control”. What he did was, when numerous protests broke out around the country, he basically ordered the media companies ”not to report” to the people about what’s happening. There were police at work, trying to stop the ”peace candlelight” protests, or vigils now called; some police went quite violent, but none to be reported by major broadcasters, newspapers, Internet news sites, or magazines.

But we’re living in the age of Web 2.0. Now people are in control. People that were there became citizen journalists – thousands and thousands. And the force of citizen journalism has grown so immense that basically nobody can stop it now.

One site gathered a stunning 1.5 million signatures to an online call for impeachment. Read the full piece here.

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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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juni 10th, 2008

Why journalists should be monitoring and responding to reader comments

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Excellent clip from WAN in Gothenburg, provided by Medievärlden. Pierre Haski of on how to take your readers seriously and get good quality comments and a good debate.

More at Medievärlden (in Swedish).

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maj 21st, 2008

Survey for blogging journalists

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Are you a journalist who blog? Check out the Online Journalism Blog’s new survey and help Paul Bradshaw get info for a book chapter he’s writing on the subject of journalists blogging.


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