A picture story, or why it's been a bit quiet here lately
Editing laid bare?

It's journalism, not the medium, we should be committed to

Yes, revisiting that age old debate again, but here's an interesting development and an excellent quote (both via David Black):

Trinity Mirror’s Buckinghamshire Advertiser has relaunched its web site. It’s very cleanly designed. But there’s something significant that is unusual about it — it’s a blog

And, the editor of The Online Journalism Review gives us this useful perspective on journalism:

Journalism tells people about something that really happened, but that they might not have known already. Journalism can come from a hundred readers on a political blog, sifting through a federal document dump for evidence of White House corruption. It can come from a hyperlocal blogger, telling her readers about the town's spring festival. Or it can come from consumers on a discussion board, sharing their personal experiences in trying to get the best deal on a family vacation.

New processes create new opportunities. A journalism story is only as strong as the sources that inform it. A traditional reporter might include a handful of sources in his story. But a community-driven website can accommodate reports from thousands more, making its reports potentially far stronger.

The old way of doing journalism served us well before the Internet allowed millions of people to become publishers. But insisting that everything we call journalism in the future be made in the same way we did journalism in the past puts our craft in grave risk.


I'm wary of this trend toward citizen journalists, or whatever you want to call it. I suppose there is the potential for reports that are far stronger than what we're getting now, but there's also the potential for something corrupt and useless. I'm enough of a cynic that I could easily imagine a group of political activists abusing the system to smear a candidate from an opposing party. I can also imagine the online dialog devolving into the ugly feedback loop that is commercial talk radio here in the United States.

Of course, there are pitfalls, but I don't think that is reason enough to write it off. I think this just illustrates that citizen journalism needs a form of leadership/ moderation. You can compare it to cretaing valuable online communities: it's tempting for newspapers for instance to see thru all the sleaze, sex talk and mild abuse and think that as loong as it drives traffic it's okay. But what you effectively do if you allow this to 'take over' your online community, is to alienate and loose all the serious discourse. Same with citizen journalism: you need to have some sort of moderation in place to keep the debate or coverage up to certain standards (like being respectful etc.)

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