On Thursday we move from discussing the pro-am hybrid of networked journalism to the more purely user-generated content of citizen journalism. In truth, the distinctions between the two concepts are somewhat fuzzy—the former being a new way of thinking and reporting on the part of professional journalists … and the latter, well, also representing a novel way of doing news, but more from the end-user side of the equation.
But let’s not get bogged down by semantics. The goal is to deepen our understanding of an ongoing but still unpredictable movement in the media toward a more participatory, open-source news paradigm.
You’re set to read my forthcoming book chapter (still a work in progress, so I welcome your feedback) and the oldie-but-goodie “11 Layers of Citizen Journalism” by Steve Outing. (And lest those readings paint a too-rosy picture of citizen journalism, be aware that early examples of the form have struggled, for reasons Jay Rosen can explain.)
As you think about the book chapter especially, some questions worth considering: What exactly is “citizen journalism” (and is that the right name for it)? Why should we care about the motivations, methods, and momentum behind this phenomenon? Regarding the last section of the chapter (p. 11 on)—how would you add to (or subtract from) the outline of trends in convergence, concentration, and conversation? What would you change? In short, what do you envision as the future for particpatory news? … Bottom line: Let’s explore the “so what” of citizen journalism.