Was it just my imagination, or did I see a round of "they just don't get it" hooting aimed at the Houston Chronicle when Dwight Silverman asked members of the public to become Chronicle "passion" bloggers?
This is the year of the great reunification. Throughout the newspaper industry, the Internet and print people are being bound together into one organization. It is dangerous, but I'm pushing hard for it.
It's dangerous because we could lose any ability to innovate, especially in the area of content. Clayton Christensen has documented how successful organizations fail because they kill innovation. It's not that people are bad or stupid -- the organizations strangle on their own history of success.
The Bakersfield Californian is working reader contributions into both online and print products through a feature it calls Your Words, and kpaul has an interview with Ray Hacke of the Californian about how that process works. They're avoiding the term "citizen journalist" and preferring "contributing writer."
I'm a sucker for international travel, so I've signed on to speak at the Citygate Forum in Stockholm at the end of April, and at the World Editors Forum in Moscow in June. In both cases I'll be talking about the new, participatory, Web-powered participatory community interaction thing ... and avoiding the baggage-laden "citizen journalism." And I won't mention "witness contributors."
The UK's National Union of Journalists has conjured up a thoroughly bizarre "Code of Practice" that attempts to throw wooden shoes into the gears of the new journalism that is growing around us. It's available only as a Microsoft Word file.