Citizen journalism: Square peg, round hole

Howard Owens points to a Media Life story quoting UNC J-prof Frank Fee, raising questions about "citizen journalism:"

“It goes back to the days of country correspondents or stringers. They are limited in what they can do, and newspapers have never been very good about training those people. ... I have seen some horrendous mistakes made by people who don’t know what they are doing."

Pew documents the power of participation

In a recent report on Web 2.0, the Pew Internet & American Life project documents the performance of three participatory websites against their more conventional counterparts: Photobucket vs. Kodakgallery, Wikipedia vs. Encarta, Myspace vs. Geocities. The comparisons are compelling. I'll skip the thousand words and just pass along the pictures:

Revisiting local citizen media

Last year Tom Grubisch examined a number of local "citizen journalism" projects and declared that what he found, "apart from a couple of honorable exceptions, is the Internet equivalent of Potemkin villages -- an elaborate façade with little substance behind it."

A year later he reexamines these projects for He finds some signs of progress, but also has some harsh criticisms.

Gannett: The 'what,' not just the 'when' and the 'how'

Some of the coverage of Friday's announcement from Gannett that things will be different misses the most important points. This is not about putting breaking news online all day long, which -- as I observed the other day -- is hardly a new idea. Nor is it about equipping reporters with video cameras.

Competing to get into print

Om Malik profiles a company he calls "the American Idol of digital photography." The idea: Get photographers to compete online to get their work printed in a magazine. The site: JPG magazine.

It's human nature to compete for scarce resources. Online space isn't scarce, but print always is scarce. I wonder what use newspapers could make of this principle. Hmm.

Myspace, brand volatility, and the future of newspapers

Scott Karp asks: Has the Myspace downturn begun? He has charts and graphs, too.

Many of us believe brands are much more volatile today than a generation ago. Great brands are still hard (and expensive) to build, but the amplified word of mouth that's made possible by the Internet allows the almost-overnight creation of Myspace as a $580 million brand. What happens next? Is it a lasting brand? Don't forget that "easy come" is often followed by "easy go."