Citizens' media gets richer
Photos, video and audio are becoming part of the user-generated palette.By
Posted: 2005-09-07Not long ago, online news sites discovered that users wanted to become partof the media conversation. Begrudgingly, many news sites added groupblogs and other devices that cracked open the palace doors and allowedreaders to become writers. Turns out the barbarians at the gates were adeptat slinging words. Who knew?Now we're seeing the next stage take hold in the citizens' media movement.People are beginning to contribute rich media -- photos, video and audio --to news sites."If news organizations don't embrace this, it will embrace
, and they'llbecome less and less relevant," says Michael Tippett, founder of NowPublic.com. "Citizen journalism is not the future, it's the present."For some time, readers have contributed photos of news events like Sept.11, the space shuttle breakup or the London bombings. What's changed isthat such reader galleries are becoming central parts of several news sitesrather than afterthoughts. Video and audio aren't far behind.In the process, thousands of amateur photographers, video-makers andpodcasters have begun creating a flavor of news that's different fromtraditional journalism -- something more informal, spirited and community-based.Following is a look at three online news publications that are blazing newtrails in user-generated content: Bluffton Today in South Carolina,NowPublic.com and New West in Missoula, Montana.
Bluffton (S.C.) Today
When Morris Newspapers launched the Bluffton Today site on April Fools'Day, some people weren't quite sure what to make of this latest experimentin citizen journalism.Steve Yelvington, analyst for
, calls it "a completeinversion of the online newspaper model," and that starts with the primarymission of the Web site: to support the daily newsprint product, whichlaunched three days later.