Archive for March 19th, 2010

Citizen journalism

Howdy, everyone! I hope you had a great spring break.

This week we’re going to cover two related but different issues: citizen journalism and crowdsourcing. Both are “problematic” terms, in that people have various reasons for finding problems with those phrases (for example). But both also get at a similar concept, which is this: As the tools of media production have became near-ubiquitous (in western society) and the costs of using those tools to create, remix, and share have fallen to the floor, there are vast new opportunities for the formerly atomized audience to participate on their terms, connect and coordinate horizontally with each other, and do so in a way that creates value through collective intelligence and contributions.

On Tuesday we take up citizen journalism. Before class, please read my chapter from the Future of News book. It’s not the most comprehensive overview of the state of affairs, but it should give you a better background for understanding how citizen journalism has emerged (under what conditions, with what motivations, using what methods, etc.), and where it might be headed in the years to come. There’s little doubt that we’re going to see more of this phenomenon in the future—indeed, probably much, much more than we expect; the “rebooted system of news” clearly is going to be one of greater pro-am collaboration. But we’re left to ponder what the character of this increased contribution will be. What is citizen journalism now, and what will it become—and why should that matter for how you think about your own role in news?

Keep that question in mind as you read for Tuesday, and please post your comments below ahead of class. Thanks.


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