Thursday, July 31, 2008

Journalism as Social Networking

Jason Wilson and I have just completed a paper that has been sent to Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism titled "Journalism as Social Networking: The Australian youdecide2007 project and the 2007 Federal election." The paper is available here for downloading and comments would be welcome.

This paper considers through the youdecide2007 case study on the 2007 Australian Federal election some of the work issues involved in developing and managing a citizen journalism Web site. This includes a discussion on the limits of 'crowdsourcing', as well as discussion of:

  • Content work - the role of being both a content producer and an editor of the content of others, or what we term a 'preditor';
  • Networking - building sustained linkages and contacts between your site and others, including the mainstream media;
  • Community work - how to bring people to the site as both users and contributors on a regular basis;
  • Technical work - the management of on-site and off-site arrangements that facilitate a successful site.
We conclude that publicising case studies of this nature is important because:
  • The merging of content origination and content organisation is now where journalism is at, as indicated in the Project for Excellence in Journalism study of U.S. newspapers;
  • The relationships between mainstream news media and independent online media are a lot more permeable than either Web 2.0 enthusiasts or critics of blogging acknowledge;
  • We learn from shared experiences and indeed from mistakes;
  • Journalism education remains rooted to a 20th century news production model that has to all intents and purposes collapsed and there is a desperate need for a rethink in light of how the Internet is changing news.

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