The ongoing saga of the the drastic cuts in foreign English teachers in Seoul has again gotten politicians and reporters to say odd things. Thankfully, Gusts of Popular Feeling breaks it down for us.
Archive for the ‘Citizen Journalism and Mainstream Media’Category
A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a blogger could not receive protections granted to mainstream journalists because she was not affiliated with a mainstream media outlet.
While the ruling does have implications for citizen journalists and bloggers, the heart of the case revolved around defamation – a claim that isn’t protected by shield laws and that doesn’t make a distinction on the writer’s status.
To me, those folks who focus on the question of whether a blogger is legally a journalist are missing the point. The point is: Were the blogger’s reports true or false? In this case, a man’s reputation was damaged and the blogger appeared to have made no effort to prove her statements. This amounts to reckless disregard for the truth.
Here’s a little bit of the history: Kevin Padrick, an Oregon attorney involved in a bankruptcy case, sued Montana blogger Cynthia Cox for defamation after she called him a “thug” and a “thief” in her blog.
U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez ruled that Cox was not a journalist because she had no professional qualifications as a journalist and did not work for a legitimate news outlet. She did not have a journalism education or credentials, and failed to provide evidence she produced an independent product, tried to get both sides of the story or adhered to journalistic standards such as checking her facts.
Because she was not a journalist under the law, the judge ruled she could not claim protections, such as the shield law, granted to mainstream media. But the judge also noted that the shield law does not apply to civil actions for defamation.
Here’s where Cox went wrong. She disregarded the issue of libel, which is defamation or injury to someone’s personal reputation and good name. It’s an issue that should be taken very seriously by every individual, but especially by journalists – whether they are members of the mainstream media, bloggers or citizen journalists.
Cox’s allegations that Padrick was a “thug” and a “thief” who “committed tax fraud” were never proven, according to a piece written by The New York Times’ David Carr.
That means Cox published the defamatory statements in her blog with reckless disregard for the truth or actual malice, which is probably what opened the door for a jury on Nov. 29 to award $2.5 million in the case.
There’s a good lesson to be learned here for all journalists, but especially citizen journalists and bloggers, who don’t deal with libel on a regular basis. Be careful in your reporting and word use. Avoid labeling someone in a way that his or her reputation could be damaged. Finally, don’t disregard the truth or write with malice.
Susan Cormier is the co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/)
Azcentral.com, the online site for The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, has stopped letting citizens comment anonymously on its site.
“In the early days (just a few years ago) of online commenting, I embraced the Wild West freedom that the tools provided in allowing citizens to speak freely about their ideas,” explained Randy Lovely, senior vice president of news and audience development for The Republic.
“Over time, my sentiments have changed as the tone and civility of the anonymous remarks have soured. I still defend your right to express your opinion, but, unfortunately, I don’t know who you are,” Lovely wrote in his posting on azcentral that announced the change.
He said the azcentral staff hope the change, which now requires citizens to comment through their personal Facebook accounts, will lead to an increase in civility and encourage more people to join the conversation.
You’ve got to love the conclusion of his piece: “If you believe strongly enough about something to comment on it, be brave enough to own your comment.
“Still, I may not agree with you, but I defend your right to express your opinion — if you’re willing to stand up and be counted.”
You can read Lovely’s entire piece at http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2011/11/30/20111130lovely1201-bar-raised-comments-azcentral.html#ixzz1fPL2dkOv
Susan Cormier is the co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/)
Stephen Colbert recently “lauded” CNN for laying off its full-time reporters in favor of its iReport department, where it doesn’t pay for content. Pundits had predicted that this would happen. Major news outlets will get rid of paid reporters in favor of free reporters. Yet I think that’s not the endgame by far. There are two reasons a lot of citizen news is reported. One is that people genuinely feel that the story they are reporting needs to get out. The other is that they are trying to establish journalism credentials for their future, which is fine. Yet CNN’s actions shows that if there is not future for paid journalists, many iReporters will think, “Well, what’s the point of doing this?”
People don’t lay the groundwork for careers that don’t exist.
I bet you that other news outlets will follow CNN’s lead. Yet the blow back already started with the HuffPo. Citizen journalists will wisen up and demand to be paid for their work–and not at Associated Content rates. News organizations like CNN will notice that their content quality and their audience will decrease. Even if not for the content quality, it would be for the perceived content quality decline, for it won’t be a secret if an organization is depending on free content. Colbert’s bit alone has already created this perception of declined quality.
The Northern Italian region of Liguria is currently being hit by flashfloods that are bringing the region’s main city of Genoa to its knees.
The citizen journalism website Youreporter is showing numerous videos of the different parts of the city as the tragic events are still unfolding. Facebook users are also uploading news and material on their pages thus contributing to spread information in the country through unofficial channels. While the authorities seem to have lost control of the unpredictable situation social media are inviting people to leave the city.
The mainstream media outlet Corriere della Sera is also remediating footage from Youreporter.
The emergency in Genoa continues.
Tom Grubisich’s blog titled “How is Citizen Journalism Playing Out Today?” takes a look at a variety of news outlets and their use or non-use of citizen journalists.
Comments ranged from “we generate over 65 percent of our content from volunteers” to “you can’t depend on citizen journalists.”
In the end, Grubisich concludes that “citizen journalism is in a new place — with less emphasis on ‘citizen’ and more on ‘journalism’.’’
Read the entire blog and see the various opinions at: http://streetfightmag.com/2011/10/27/how-is-citizen-journalism-playing-out-today/.
Susan Cormier is the co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (www.citizenjournalistnow.com).
Gusts of Popular Feeling has made its reputation by analyzing the Korean media’s attacks on foreign English teachers and countering them with actual statistics, facts, and quotes. Korean newspapers tend to employ cartoons when they have no photos to accompany articles. GoPF has put together a massive collection to visually give the history of the Korean media’s portrayal of foreign English teachers since 1984.
The initiative is part of a wider project, started in July 2011, aimed at investigating topics proposed by the newspaper’s audience: mafia issues, corruption in the political elites, the garbage scandal and healthcare disservices are only some of the themes covered by Repubblica so far.
The citizen journalism portal is a significant step toward the recongnition of the importance of this emergent field by the Italian mainstream media industry. A previous attempt was represented by the TV program Citizenreport aired on the state owned channel RAI 3 and was unfortunately discontinued after the first series.
The episodes can still be accessed via RAI tv but the program’s website, with all its highly interesting content, has been switched off.
Citizen journalists’ from Italy, or everyone who wishes to expose wrongdoings, share news and facts about the country, are invited to send their contributions to La Repubblica’s Visual Desk, email@example.com.
Congratulations are due to a Connecticut newspaper and some mainstream editors for recognizing the importance of including citizens in the news-gathering process.
At a meeting in Denver, Colo., last week, the Associated Press Media Editors awarded their annual innovation award to the Register Citizen of Torrington, Conn., for its Open Newsroom Project.
While the newspaper deserves major kudos, the mainstream editors also should be applauded for their acceptance of the Register Citizen’s pioneering efforts to encourage citizen journalists and bloggers, and open the paper’s doors to the community.
Among the innovative concepts incorporated into Open Newsroom Project are a community media lab with workstations for local bloggers, a community classroom, a newsroom Café and open archives. The paper actually encourages community participation and even offers a live-stream of its daily editorial meetings.
As a promoter of citizen journalism and citizen journalism training, my two favorite parts of the project, launched in December 2010, are the community media lab and community classroom.
According to its write-up of the lab, “The difference between our approach and similar efforts in the past is that we do not seek to ‘own’ or control their content. We are just linking to and helping promote the work bloggers are doing on topics or in neighborhoods that we don’t have the resources to cover.
“They get the ‘fire hose’ of our audience traffic directed at their site, and we get to offer a more comprehensive package of local news and information to our readers via aggregation and curation of outside work.”
The Register Citizen also has a full-time editor who works with and trains local bloggers.
But the paper has done even more. It has built a classroom in its newsroom, where it holds classes and workshops on technology, writing and journalism – all of which are open to the public and live-streamed on the web.
Again, according to its write-up, members of the newspaper’s staff were sitting alongside local bloggers, residents and even local public officials at a series of classes on the Freedom of Information Act.
How cool is that?
So, I’d like to add my congratulations to the Register Citizen for a job well done. I look forward to hearing about its continued success and hope similar open newsroom projects start popping up across the country.
Susan Cormier is the co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/om).
It’s a bit dated (May 26th), but it’s still relevant. With the increasing violence against protesters in Syria and a continued government-imposed media blackout, we are really getting our information from citizen journalists in Syria. They’re a major source. Just look at any story on Syria and likely the video and photos were taken by citizen journalists.
So read this piece on citizen journalists in Syria by Natacha Yazbeck at Ma’an News Agency to get a better picture of how they’re working there.