Citizen journalism in the simple sense is news collected and published online by people like you and me. We aren’t reporters by any stretch, but citizen journalism websites gives us an opportunity to speak as interested observers. It is freedom of speech without any censorship in its unadulterated sense.
Citizen journalism as first witness accounts or even as second hand reporting has gained credibility thanks to many media channels. The common man as a commentator or a reporter also goes where walking-the-beat journos sometimes can’t. So check out these seven social news websites for a week long reading of news put together by citizen journalists.
A multimedia news site with 5 million readers puts it in the top bracket of citizen journalism news coverage. NowPublic.com says that it receives news from 6,000 cities in 160 countries. The crowdsourced news site accepts news, views, photos, and videos from its legion of contributors. News items range from 250 words to 600 words in length. You can also check out Examiner.com, a sister site which is more selective about news but has a payment model (North America only) that’s still lacking in NowPublic.com.
CNN iReport is an example of a mainstream news media company that’s also tapping into the power of citizen journalism. CNN says that the stories in this section are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post. Only the ones marked with a ‘CNN iReport’ badge have been vetted by CNN. News contributors are also awarded honor badges for their contributions and some of them make it to the “˜Superstar’ list. As a part of CNN, the citizen generated news content gets its share of eyeballs.
You will be known as a Digital Journalist and you will be paid (by way of a share in ad revenues) for your contributions. I write for them occasionally and can say that the level of professionalism is pretty high. Digital Journal is based in Canada and it started out as a technology news site. You can sign up, read and write news stories, and also start a blog. It is among the earliest citizen journalism sites on the web. Digital Journal, like all community based websites, tries to promote interaction among its members.
Allvoices.com is probably the only crowdsourced news with a cartoon section. Otherwise, it follows the pattern of a usual contribution run news website. Apart from crowdsourced news, some events are also posted automatically from news RSS feeds (marked as Mainstream News).
Newsvine is a collaborative crowdsourced news website that’s owned by MSNBC. Newsvine is well regarded as one of the top most user generated news websites. News is a combination of contributed content (links and detailed articles) and mainstream news from Associated Press. Newsvine pays contributors from a share of the ad-revenues. Newsvine also maintains a leaderboard reflecting the popularity rank of all its contributors. When you join, you will be taken to the Greenhouse where new users are announced to the community.
Wikinews is as good a place as any to try out your journalism skills. The moot point of Wikipedia’s sister site is that it stresses on neutral, unbiased reporting. Opinionated news articles are ruled out. As is true of any wiki, you have to follow strict content guidelines. But if you have an internet connection and an eye for news, this is a place to get a global audience. Check out the Water Cooler link where you can discuss issues beyond the news.
Demotix could really make a scribe out of you as they provide a platform for licensing your contributed news stories to media channels (200 of them). The U.K based Demotix is a citizen journalism website plus a photo agency. The community is a 17,000 strong group of “˜street journalists’ from 190 countries. The Wikipedia page on Demotix makes for an interesting read and also captures how amateur journalism can leave an impact.
Do you think that these seven websites can make you shout “stop the press”? There are a few more crowdsourced news sites with citizen journalism content out there. Let us know about the ones you read for the news. And if you are thinking of becoming one yourself, read the Top 5 Online Resources for the Citizen Journalist.
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