Exciting developments and investments involving citizen journalists were announced during the last couple of months of 2010.
Here are just some of the news items:
1) Thomson Reuters announced Dec. 14 that it will partner with citizen journalism site, Examiner.com, and other U.S. content providers as part of the company’s multimillion-dollar investment to help meet the needs of U.S. newsrooms.
In a Dec. 14 press release, the news agency said its goal is to increase its domestic news offering, and to offer publishers and broadcasters the tools they need to increase efficiency, reduce cost and drive revenue.
Examiner.com, whose 65,000 citizen contributors – or examiners – generate thousands of articles daily with “fresh, original and locally relevant content,” is just one of the entities involved in the Reuters America project, according to the press release. Other outlets distributing content through Reuters include The Wrap News, SportsDirect Inc., The Sports Xchange, US PRESSWIRE and SB Nation.
2) Yahoo announced on Nov. 15 that it was launching a contributor network to add the “voice of the people.”
In its press release, Yahoo! said it “is inviting people to contribute to many of its most popular sites with the launch of the Yahoo! Contributor Network, a new platform for people to publish their creative content on Yahoo! The Yahoo! Contributor Network . . . will bring contributions from more than 400,000 writers, photographers, and videographers to the Internet’s largest media destinations. . . . ”
3) On Dec. 15, it was announced that blogging community network Global Voices and citizen journalism wire Demotix will begin sharing text and images.
On the Demotix blog, CEO Turi Munthe said: “We share a profound commitment to the ‘crowd’ and its power, and a profound commitment to opening the news conversation. Global Voices run the best network of global bloggers anywhere – to combine their work with our images has always made sense.”
4) CNN, which first began accepting citizen reports in 2006, celebrated citizens’ involvement with a video released Dec. 16 that showcases 194 iReports from 194 countries.
While these are some of the larger stories that have appeared in recent months, there also a couple of smaller stories that are worth noting as well.
Gannett is adding to its investment in TucsonCitizen.com, a community journalism site created when the Arizona newspaper closed down in May 2009. The site was designed to satisfy Justice Department requirements regarding Gannett’s Joint Operating Agreement with Lee Enterprises, publisher of Tucson’s other daily, the Arizona Daily Star.
With the persistent and very capable leadership of site editor Mark Evans, TucsonCitizen.com now has 65 citizen contributors and has nearly doubled its page views from the same time last year to almost 1 million a month.
Evans said he no longer fears that he will come to work one day and learn that the site will be closed down.
Just the opposite appears to be happening. With Gannett funding, Evans was able to hire Anthony Gimino as a full-time employee beginning Jan. 3 to oversee the TucsonCitizen.com’s growing sports blogging network and to assist in the overall administration of the community website. Also in January, a part-time social media editor will be hired to help with the site’s social media efforts and to grow the site’s audience.
In Pennsylvania, Pattye Benson is among the bloggers being noticed by professional journalists as credible and worthy of adding to their news sites. Benson, who has been writing her blog, Community Matters, for a year, announced Dec. 17 that she could now be found on the newspaper website of Mainline Media News.
Benson notes on her blog: “There have been a few naysayers who have questioned if my blog was mainstream journalism. Tom Murray’s offer for Community Matters to ‘live in the space’ of the newspaper validates this citizen journalist and hopefully now quiets those critics.”
There may be many more smaller stories like these last two, but I just don’t know about them. All-in-all, I’d say the outlook is pretty bright for citizen journalists and bloggers. I can’t wait to see what 2011 brings.
Susan Cormier is the head coach in charge of training at the National Association of Citizen Journalists (http://nacj.us/) and co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/).