On Tuesday, we covered the state of the professional news media, which, to be sure, is highly disconcerting (falling revenues, failing business models, vanishing jobs—oh my!). And, yet, as we discussed, the very fluidity and uncertainty of the situation makes it all the more open for upstart journalists (like you) to make a big difference right from the start—to break in with new skill sets and mindsets.
So, it’s not all bad news out there.
Today, we look at the state of citizen media, first addressing questions such as: What is citizen media? (and citizen journalism?) How is this kind of media both like and unlike what the “pros” are doing, where do the two begin to blur online? Those are just up-front baseline questions. I’m more interested in having you explore the overall lay of the land through this piece from the Project for Excellence in Journalism. It’s a good overview of some of the key terminology and trends we’ll touch on this semester. After you read this, put the report within the larger context of major trends noted by PEJ.
Here’s one thought to consider: In it’s “major trends” report, PEJ says, “The prospects for user-created content, once thought possibly central to the next era of journalism, for now appear more limited, even among “citizen” sites and blogs.” Why? And might they be wrong? … Consider this report in the context of your lived experience. What’s happening out there, online? Where are we going from here?
Second, and just as important, you’re going to be reading pages 1-40 from Charlie Beckett’s SuperMedia book. With this one, try to ask yourself: How did the media “get here,” to this current state of flux? and what kind of journalism could (and should) emerge in the future?
(p.s. I’m trying out this WordPress tool called Zemanta, which allows you to autmotically include related blog posts based on keywords in your blog … so, below, I thought I’d toss in a few posts for fun.)
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