News is what you make it

Cory Bergman argues that Craigs List is a community news site.

It’s the ultimate citizen journalism site, and it beats traditional news sites in popularity in many cities — an important realization for local media to broaden the definition of news as we know it.

Yes, but I’m not sure that most people go there to share or find news.

  • Your response simply begs the question.

    “Yes, but I’m not sure that most people go there to share or find news.”

    Not by the definition of news, sure. But if you change the definition of news – which is his point – then what’s carried on Craigslist may be news. If you allow ‘news’ to mean something like ‘whatever is important to people’ he may have a point.

    To response you need to show ‘that is not news’ and not ‘that is not where they get their news’.

  • That’s just silly. I find my assistants by advertising on Craig’s list, and I frequently post and look for Paris/Los Angeles house/apartment trades. If “I’m interested in swapping my Paris flat for your house” or “cheap colonics!” or “swingers seek same” is news, well, then they’re the next New York Times: all the small-scale barter and commerce that’s fit to print.

  • Vulgorilla

    To date, the TSM (Terrorist Supporting Media – old MSM) has defined what “News” is. I have zero comfort level with them defining anything of importance or value, so your point is well taken. News could indeed be some of what’s on Craigslist, although I suspect that its not totally covered by it.

  • I’d probably agree with you, Jeff, except that the editor of my newspaper told me last week that he doesn’t want us posting photos taken by average citizens and calling it news.
    Meanwhile, I consider most of the news I get to come from bloggers and users even if they are pointing often to traditional sources.
    In the least we can all agree that the definition of news is changing.
    Like all other things these days, the definition will come from the users, not the other way around.
    Try as that editor may, he has no say of what the public calls news.

  • No, its not news by my understanding of news. If I want to know what is going on in Iraq, I dont think I would look in Craig’s list. Do you suppose they will have people off in some community devestated by tsunami as fast as a professional news organization? No. Its not what I call news of importance.

  • Good question Jeff. And without asking the participants who use Craigslist, it’s a hard question to answer.

    You’re post’s title may say it all however.

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  • James Cooney

    Mick, what you’re referring to in the examples you give is international news. There is very much so a place for national (for whatever nation) and international investigative reporting online, and likely will be for sometime. Hell, even local investigative reporting. However, what the bulk of daily newspapers publish could concievably be covered as well as (or better) by alternative sources.

    This is a distinction that gets blurred a lot in these conversations. People immediately go to the reporter in Iraq on the frontlines, when that isn’t what we’re really talking about, and it isn’t what most reporters are doing.

    Not-to-mention, as Jeff as previously pointed out, there are some embedded bloggers taking the same risks as traditional reporters.