What is a citizen Journalist?

This made me smile. Not saying I agree. Just made me smile.

A definition of citizen journalist by Seth Finkelstein in response to a post by Dan Gillmor about defining the loaded term

“person who wants to have things both ways, by claiming all the privileges which attach to the role of “journalist”, while disclaiming all the responsibilities and rules which constrain that role, saying they are a “citizen””.

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Jay Rosen defines Citizen Journalism. UGC dies

Jay Rosen goes multimedia with his definition of Citizen Journalism

It’s such a rich definition in that it doesn’t really define what it does as much as it defines why it’s such a challenge for the mainstream media. And perhaps why they can’t get a handle on it.

Jay cam up with the definition a while back- the video just cements things. So there is a tonne of useful after matter, as Jay calls it, on his blog.

But I posted it up as CJ was foremost in my mind when I read a post over at Online Video Watch (not sure which one of the team wrote it) proclaiming the death of User Generated Content

Well, I’m calling it – user-generated content is officially dead. Hulu is here, ABC is raking in the views with their player, the studios are still adapting but beginning to develop business models, and semi-professional content creators now have the tools to compete with mainstream content.

The argument relies on the idea that UGC is a commercial model rather than a descriptor of anything not done by the pros but used by them.But ultimately it’s purely economic

The content universe is larger than ever before, and while UGC is worthless there’s plenty of time for those with passion to become successful professional producers

If UGC is dead then all that has really died is the indusrties defintion. The industries attempt to control and corall rather than understand havnt worked. As one commentor noted “UGC is only dead to slightly dead to most advertisers, not the people who publish the content.”

I thought Jay’s definition made an interesting contrast this view. Jay’s definition is about defining the activity and not its relationship to the media. It isn’t an attempt to define on the industries terms.

Maybe UGC isnt dead. Perhaps, in Godfather style, it is just ‘dead to us’

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Interesting and motivating stuff

I’m involved in two days of an exciting Meld project and as part of that I am showing ( or may mention) a number of bits of technology and services. I needed a place to put the links to access them and thought I would share them here.

It’s all stuff that has made me go ‘wow’ and/or made me think ‘that would be great for journalists if…’. Of course there are lots of other things – the blog really helps collect and remember them – so if you have things that fall in to the ‘must see’ inspiration. I’d love to see them.


I love this stuff as it offers an interesting way for ugc to be contextualized and then inhabited. Nodes of content – photos – that each has their own story used to build up a bigger picture. The very definition of the way CJ should work .

A couple of links here to the original Photo tourism applet and then the Photosynth version in a similar vein. Also a neat demo of the Seadragon technology

and the TED presentation by Blaise Aguera y Arcas around Photosynth.

360 video

I love the Google street view stuff and this builds on the concept. Immersive media have a very impressive looking bit of hardware (although low-fi versions are around) and a few examples that, perhaps, hint at the uses a journalist may find in interacting with this stuff if not generating it themselves. (look about 2mins in)

News/editorial games

The Political machineOkay, breakout with news headlines may make MSNBC’s claim to have invented a whole “newly invented genre of ‘news gaming'” a bit hard to swallow. But it is good fun.

Games have started to seep in to journalism consciousness. A version of the Neverwinter nights has been used to train journalists and the games ideas that sprang from that project

But it isn’t all just retro-gaming or journalism training. Editorial/issue games are more and more visible.

Whether it’s highly polished stuff like The Political Machine or influenced by single issues that resonate like Police brutality, September 12th or the raft of issue games from Persuasive Games.

There are loads of serious games out there covering the kind of stories and issues that journalists are. This is where I really think we need to be exploring much more.

Wii news channel

Speaking of games. I know there are other consoles out there but I just got a Nintendo wii. The news channel is pretty straightforward in what it does (streams AP content) but the way it does it is pretty cool. Putting journalism in an environment (like throwing the digital newspaper on the gaming lawn) seems to me an area that is being neglected in the msm’s attempts to ‘own the platforms’.

And the old wii, like the iphone and PSP, is getting platform friendly content.

Digital narratives

The Work of Jonathan Harris

Interactivity and multimedia are part of the reason why the web has become so popular as a journalism platform. Seminal work like OnBeing and The Final Salute show just how good journalists are at telling stories and giving stories a voice. Of course other storytellers have embraced the platform. The work of Jonathan Harris is a particular favorite of mine. Lots to learn and learn from in all areas.


Time Tube

Journalism is getting in on the act with visulaisation whether its infographics with an extra edge or projects using Google maps, tag clouds or something fancy like the Spectra Visual Newsreader app (Kudos to MSNBC for getting another mention).

General shots of stuff.

CJ and the olympic torch.

Back of my hols and my first post using WP2.5 – very nice so far.

Anyway, I have a lot of stuff to catch up on and things to post about. But to get the juices flowing I wanted to point to a great pick off by Phil Trippenbach about ‘CJ’ coverage of the Olympic torch going through London.

He compares it to the BBC coverage, which someone has also youtubed.

Interesting comparison and Phil ends by considering the fundamental problem that MSM face when it comes to this kind of thing

Everyone in the audience has a camera. And everyone in the audience can broadcast their feed live to the world. If the BBC (or anyone) can figure out an efficient way for people like niesfisch to get newsworthy video onto their own organization’s portal, instead of YouTube, in a timely and yet edited fashion, they’ll have a good thing going . .