New forms of journalism let citizens become partners in the news
By J.D. Lasica
Online Journalism Review
Over the past few years, the outlines of a new form of journalism have begun to emerge. Call it participatory journalism or one of its kindred names — open-source journalism, personal media, grassroots reporting — but everyone from individuals to online newspapers has begun to take notice.
“It’s about readers participating in the editorial process, and it’s long overdue,” says Dan Gillmor, a blogger and technology columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, who is writing a book on the subject called “Making the News.” “People at the edges of the network are getting a chance to become more involved in traditional journalism by using many of the same tools of the trade. This is tomorrow’s journalism, with professionals and gifted amateurs as partners.”
Gillmor put his credo in action by publishing his book outline online and asking his readers to react and contribute to it.
A new report on participatory journalism by New Directions for News concludes: “Journalism finds itself at a rare moment in history where … its hegemony as gatekeeper of the news is threatened by not just new technology and competitors but, potentially, by the audience it serves.
“Armed with easy-to-use Web publishing tools, always-on connections and increasingly powerful mobile devices, the online audience has the means to become an active participant in the creation and dissemination of news and information.” (Disclaimer: I edited the NDN report).
Today, you can see glimmers of participatory journalism seeping into online news sites. The new media managers at the Santa Fe New Mexican have been won over by the idea and hope to broaden the various forms of reader participation on the newspaper’s Web site.