BloggerCon: Citizen media--users know more

The second discussion session at BloggerCon was led by Jay Rosen, associate professor of journalism at NYU.  Rosen listed several questions and topics to kick off the discussion.
Written by Dan Farber, Inactive

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The second discussion session at BloggerCon was led by Jay Rosen, associate professor of journalism at NYU.  Rosen listed several questions and topics to kick off the discussion. The Docnographer Doc Searls provides live notes from the discussion. Here is a link to the podcast version.

  •     Cases-on-record that could be called open source journalism and the lessons from them.
  •     Stories that can be usefully investigated using open source and collaborative methods. Have a reporting project that would be a good test case? Raise your hand.
  •     Which user communties are good bets to be interested and knowledgable enough to make it happen?
  •     Is it possible to create user networks for the purpose of doing journalism with them, or wiser to rely on existing ones?
  •     What tools already exist for this kind of work, and how can we adapt them?
  •     What do we know about the challenges of doing open source journalism from previous chapters like open source software?
  •     Which questions already have answers in earlier attempts to do this kind of journalism (Wikinews, Oh My News)?
  •     What’s the right combination of pro and amateur?

NYU journalism professor and blogger Jay Rosen asks how users can contribute to journalism

Some notes from the conversation--not in chronological order. Rosen said the news industry won't pay attention to citizen media until the non-mainstream media breaks stories.  He pronounced that "users know more than we do is not blogging." Dispersed groups have a lot of knowledge that people working by themselves or in small teams don't know, he added. "What we can know through open source methods not known any other way--that's the Holy Grail."

Ken Sands, the online publisher for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane (100,000 subscribers)
described how his site has 35 active blogs, does 3 to 4 podcasts a week, and daily news meetings are open to the public and Webcast. Rosen noted that mainstream media has started to harness people who can provide pictures and eye witness accounts. Doc Searls said newspapers need to open their archives.

Mark Glaser of PBS said the key is to be open to readers. "Throw something out there, and readers who actually know something, or may be major players in the subject, surface and contribute," he said.

Lisa Stone of Blog Her said mainstream media lacks a diversity of opinion, and background. "We need a diverse set of sources to bring expertise to a topic. Not just wonks. Blog Her is teaching about that," she said.

"Invite communities with particular expertise into different kinds of stories," citizen media explorer Dan Gillmor suggested. He gave an example of pursuing the stock options scandal with the people who have a stake in it--the shareholders, who have something to win or lose in the process.

Tim Porter said investigative accountants, who uncovered the stock option scandal (back-dating options) can sell expertise to a hedge fund for a much higher price that to a newspaper.

Robert Cox of the Media Bloggers Association said bloggers should become involved in developing journalism training for bloggers. He also talked about using technology, such software the helps corporations comply with Sarbanne-Oxley regulations, to make every step of financial control visible in a centralized database, where bloggers and citizens can tap into the data. 

Christopher Carfi discussed stories as a river that by definition changes over time, and includes more perspectives and facts. Buzz Bruggerman said that people need to see the river, and need to know how to "jump over the ice flows" and tools that allow users to contribute to the stream at any time. Rosen added that people need to see what's happen and their parts.
Sylvia Paul got the last word--don't teach civics, teach reporting. make them reporters.

Thanks to the Docnographer...
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