Posts about citizensmedia

Can’t have enough sunlight

The Sunlight Foundation has launched with many efforts to use the power of the internet and us to bring more sunlight to government. Micah Sifry, who helped launch this with Andrew Rasiej, explains it better than I can. Sunlight already helped with the start of Congresspedia; it is making sunshine grants, and — my favorite — is assigning armies of citizens to report on Congressional earmarks and giving tutorials to citizen journalists on how to dig the dirt. Let the citizen watchdogging of government explode.

Who does what

Richard Sambrook, the visionary director of global news at the BBC, blogs about the role of citizen journalism but, more interesting to me, he codifies what professional journalists do in a distributed world:

So if information is commodotised, and the public can tell their own stories, what’s the role for the journalist? I came up with three things – verification (testing rumour and clearing fog), explanation (context and background) and analysis (a Google search won’t provide judgement). And journalists still have the resources to go places and uncover things that might otherwise remain hidden. Citizens can do all of those things, but not consistently, and with even less accountability than the media. Brand still matters.

I would add that the professionals also have to add a few new roles, both of which require a new level of openness and generosity: They need to share their knowhow with citizen journalists (I dare not say “train” them but rather let their reader-colleagues know how to avoid libel or get access to records or doublecheck a source). And they need to share trust (that is, find out who knows their stuff and link to them, since the professional journalist can no longer pretend to cover everything). [via David Weinberger]

Oh, my

Softbank invests $11 million in OhmyNews to go global.

OhmyNews and Softbank shared an understanding that OhmyNews will have to strengthen its Korean main operation to effectively realize the globalization of citizen participatory journalism. To this end, Softbank will invest US$5.2million to OhmyNews. OhmyNews will spend the invested funds on the expansion of OhmyTV, an Internet television arm of OhmyNews, to advance citizen participation in the video journalism and the development of OhmyNews’ English language edition, pushing citizen participatory journalism to the next level. Softbank will own 12.95 percent of OhmyNews’ outstanding shares as a result of this investment.

Softbank and OhmyNews will jointly launch OhmyNews International Co. Ltd. in early March and use this business arm to globalize citizen participatory journalism. Using the company as a global stepping stone, Softbank and OhmyNews agreed to work together in spreading citizen participatory journalism worldwide, which was pioneered by OhmyNews based on the concept that “every citizen is a reporter.” …

As its first international news venture, OhmyNews International will establish ‘OhmyNews Japan’ before August 2006 in Japan. ‘OhmyNews Japan’ will provide Japanese citizens with a multimedia platform of citizen participation, hence introducing a completely different kind of news media to Japan’s media market that will live up to the spirit of Web 2.0.

Until now, OhmyNews has been largely a Korean phenomenon and many have wished and wondered about expanding it to other countries but so far, this has not happened. The question has been whether Ohmy is uniquely suited to the Korean media, political, cultural, and technological landscape or whether it will work elsewhere. I’m moderating a panel with EunTaek Hong, editor-in-chief of Ohmy, at the Online Publishers Association next week and I’ll be eager to hear more. [via Craig]

Witnesses report

Jeremy Hermanns was on the Alaska Air flight that had a gash in its side and lost pressure. He gook Treo 650 photos of the scene and, thank God, lived to blog about it. Compare his account with the news account. [via Lost Remote]

: UPDATE: Jeremy tracks nasty, anonymous comments on his blog to an Alaska Airways IP address. When will they ever learn, when will they everrrrr learn?


The haughtily named Chartered Institute of Journalists issues a hissy fit over news organizations encouraging citizens to gather news, saying that such efforts are “totally unacceptable and border on the irresponsible.”

How ridiculous. I’d say that the CIJ’s attitude is journalistically offensive. We journalists should believe that more information, more news, more coverage, more knowledge are all good things for journalism and for society.

The CIJ frets that this puts citizens in danger. Well, we’re all big boys and girls and we can make those decisions. It also complains about copyright and payment to citizen journalists. There, too, they can take care of themselves and chose to share or sell or not.

I think the real problem here is that they can’t stand the idea the competition — maybe even competition who work for free because they believe in sharing what they know.