Wednesday, September 05, 2007

To succeed, Citizen Journalism needs bold reporting

One of the reasons cited for the dull fare and subsequent insipid activity on hyperlocal sites including the now defunct Backfence may be attributed to the plain and painful reality of stories on display not being bold enough.

Many bloggers have been bold Citizen Journalists, writing fearlessly, doing exposes, doggedly following causes they believe in.

How come citizen reporters on CitiJ sites are not enterprising enough?

Till late 2006, I was the Managing Editor at a blog network in New Delhi. We had many talented writers who were quite passionate about their subjects but I found that they were not as passionate when they wrote, sounding too automated.

There were ownership issues involved.

Being a PAID blogger provided security but it was no incentive to writing with an original voice on blogs, something that makes a blog stand out.

Could a similar thing be happening to Citizen contributors at CitiJ/Hyperlocal sites?
Could better editorial guidance help bring out the best in Citizen Reporters?

Or, are we walking in circles here?
Maybe citizen reporters are self starters.

Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas and Burmese investigative reporter May Thingyan Hein won the 2007 Knight International Journalism Award winners. Working in regimes that excel at shutting people's vices, these bloggers have given ' first-hand reports, videos and photographs have attracted thousands of readers and the attention of mainstream news outlets, which have begun to pick up his hard-hitting stories.'

Wael Abbas has been arrested, interrogated, and beaten, but all that couldn't bring down his enthusiasm for fearless reporting.

It remains to be seen how we channelize this spirit onto Citizen Journalism sites.
Aggregating all the best reporting might be a good beginning.

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At 4:56 PM , Blogger A journalist said...

One of course as you say bloggers need to be more committed and professional and bold. And on the other side, internet should have much deeper penetration. Blogs are still not in the public realm, except for a few internet friendly, blog friendly individuals.

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