International developments

Posted on 10. Oct, 2007 by in Citizen Network, International

10:32 Moderator Neil McIntosh of the Guardian kicks the panel off with introductions of panelists:

Adrian Monck of City University of London’s journalism education program. He has launched a collaboration with Sky News developing a group of citizen correspondents and a resource that allows the public to track their FOI requests.

Martin Huber of MyHeimat.de which combines printed magazines with an online platform for hyperlocal communities and a network of 5,000 contributors/citizen reporters.

Robin Hamman curates BBC’s blog network. He also blogs at Cybersoc.com. “I guess you could say that I’m the back-office blogger-in-chief.”

10:36 – McIntosh: asks Hamman to describe difference between the UK and US online communities.

10:38 – McIntosh asks about MyHeimat’s emphasis on the free sheet.

Huber: When a media company has to deliver in the hyperlocal community is not so much content as a service, to share information. We learn from our community, we always have to learn what the community wants and we have to implement that very quickly.

10:43 – Monck: discussing partnership with SkyNews which attracted applicants from around the world. There’s another model that interests me, networked reporting:
There are interagency stories. Stories that cross borders like terroristm You need to be able to report things like this in a much savvier way. Creating networks is an important role for journalism.
We kind of need to move with the times on that.

Speaking of international, complex stories like rendition, he asks:

“How do we keep the public interested in things like that?”

10:45 Hamman: on user-generated content. “Give people the call to action, but ask people to put it online themselves and put it in a pool. I think it’s a much more honest approach than, send it to us and we only use one half percent of it.”

10:47 Travis Henry from YourHub.com asks Huber about services that make community a better place and how that works at MyHeimat.com.
Huber: we see it as a media application. You can scale this solution, if it is specific for local communities.
“It’s not only the people trained in networked journalism, but it is also the piece of software that is exactly the need of what’s out there.”
We see it as part of the user interface. The barrier to entry for some users is lower with the print free sheets.

10:51 – A question from the audience on the onerous work of maintaining and encouraging community participation.
Monck starts off by talking about disaggregating, but also says he’s of two minds
“I don’t know from enthusiasts and cheerleading to the world-weary cynics.”

McIntosh then asks Hamman about the idea of produce less, gather more. “Is that a message that people are starting to get?”

Hamman: “It’s vastly expensive to run an online community if that isn’t your core business. The ‘send us your stuff’ model is also vastly expensive.”
He says that news organizations need to do more cheerleading to show people how to post there stuff, then go find the best of it, then what to do with it once it is there.

10:59 – Chris Anderson of Columbia asks: British media landscape is very different from American media. Does that have an impact on what bloggers do?

Monck – UK media is incredibly centralized. He points to the BBC and says: on one hand it is fantastic, but on the other hand its sort of like a nanny. “Why blog when everything is provided for you?”

You can’t deny that BBC does wonderful things, but on the other hand it kind of disempowers people and says this is only for big guys.

Hamman (of the BBC) responds by talking to the BBC blogs trial and changes to the BBC homepage.
We are starting to turn things around a bit.

Hamman then talks about DailyKos and HuffingtonPost visitorship going upwards of 500,000 unique visitors a day.
“I think, my god, our whole blog network gets that much.”
The audiences for blogs in the US are huge and that’s a big difference between US and UK.

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