European Bloggers (Un)Conference 'East meets West'
- Citizen journalism: how and when it works
- Security Issues & How does blogging affects society and politics, and vice versa
- Building successful Web 2.0 applications
Session: Citizen journalism: how and when it works
Kathlyn Clore is a 24-year-old American journalist who works at the European Journalism Centre. She describes a roundtable discussion in which she participated.
I can't say that I began my employ at the EJC with a positive view of citizen journalism , in large part because I worked after University for two years at a 'traditional' newspaper in a small town where a citizen journalism paper started up. I saw a lot of 'worst practices' at that 'other paper.'
But after a few months of studying the citizen journalism phenomenon in more detail , and attending the two-day Bloggers (Un)Conference , I'm seeing the strong merits of this branch of journalism.
British professor Paul Bradshaw moderated the roundtable chat in which I participated. We had about 10 people actively discussing the merits of citizen journalism:
- The first thing we talked about was defining citizen journalism and wondering why people do it when they don't get paid. We straight away dismissed the idea that folks send stories to get their 15 minutes of fame. We think people have more altruistic motivations ,and that the fact they don't get paid buys them a lot of credibility.'The fact that they're important within the community that is enough for them,â€ a Belgian woman who works at a citizen journalism site told us about her unpaid reporters.
- Citizen journalists, we decided, can sometimes be trusted more than a traditional journalist. They have nothing to lose when they report critically; mainstream reporters typically must worry about maintaining a long-term network of sources.
- Blogs, we noted, are often where the 'whole' story can be told, where experts are analyzing in greater depth than mainstream journalists often charged with distilling the story to fit a news hole. The mainstream press is fine for a perusal of the news, but the Internet is more and more frequently where the 'whole' story is told , often by the very experts or eyewitnesses mainstream journalists would interview.'The Internet has made it so that professionalism and 'being an expert,' are not the same thing,â€ someone said.
- As such, it seems too bad that blogs are often viewed as 'less than' the mainstream media , 'A good story, well-told, is a good story, well-told. Full stop,â€ said a former BBC correspondent in the group.
- Blogs and citizen journalism can be seen as more democratic because they involve a two-way conversation.'I like their softness. They have news I can argue with,â€ one man said. 'I can't argue with print- and I want to argue.â€
- Blogs can also be used for activism more effectively than the editorial pages of newspapers: We learned of 'trickle blogging,' where a blogger keeps posting about a narrow topic in an effort to make an impact.
- On Friday, we met to talk about issues like accreditation. The consensus was that bloggers should not want accreditation to places like Parliament or the White House , because then they've simply become part of the mainstream.'Something is wrong when they want to be where the press is,â€ someone said. 'They should not just mimic journalists, become what they despise.â€
- At the end, we talked about how the mainstream media can benefit (financially) from citizen journalism. It was not difficult to name various citizen journalism projects and think of various business models.
See the EJC's link list for some of the model's Bradshaw presented to the conference after we finished our roundtable.
Video session: Citizen journalism: how and when it works
Sessions: Security Issues & How does blogging affects society and politics, and vice versa
Rina Tsubaki is a native of Japan interning at the European Journalism Center and majoring in European Studies in Maastricht. She describes a roundtable discussion in which she participated.
Weblogs have became required reading, particularly among the young generation. But it remains difficult to quantify exactly how much influence they have on society and politics.
A group of about 30 active bloggers from East and West Europe formed to discuss how blogging impacts society and politics, and vice versa. The debate was coherently led by Luc van Brakel, an active blogger who writes in Dutch and English. Most bloggers participating in the two-day discussion agreed that weblogs can influence the public conscious as well as the agenda-setting, traditional news media and politics.
One Macedonian blogger noted that due to various cultural reason, a majority of Macedonian people are very closed off to political issues, but lately weblogs seem to change their behaviour.
Many also agreed that in both West and East, the mainstream media and journalists have became less trusted by most citizens. An important implication is that weblogs are filling this gap and even causing a shift away from faceless journalists writing in a traditional format to a more dynamic collection of known citizen journalists.
Yet, there are some barriers to growing this phenomenon. Several Dutch bloggers in the roundtable talk argued that there are some popular Dutch weblogs called "shock blogs" which report news with a twist that it should not have. Yet, the overall consensus of the discussion group was that bloggers should aim "honestly" to influence the society and politics.
Video sessions: Security Issues & How blogging affects society and politics, and vice versa
Video session: Building successful Web 2.0 applications