Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Can MSM Do Citizen Journalism Without Acting Like Big Momma?

Like the domineering mother of a precocious child, the MSM is implementing all sorts of plans to help The People become citizen journalists....

By now, everyone has heard thatCNN jumped on the citizen journalism bandwagon and seeks video, audio, photographic content for their newscasts.

Perhaps, though, there's a difference between citizen-generated content and citizen journalism...but to differentiate would be less of a selling point. After all citizen journalism is a really wonderful buzzword and it'll make CNN look really, really hip to include The People in its efforts.

The World Company, which publishes the Lawrenced Journal-World, along with Kansas University's William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications is launching a citizen journalism academy where they'll even teach blogging! That's kind of funny, considering the blogosphere is a mystery to many at all different levels of MSM. The J-W's efforts appear sincere, but are they looking to cultivate independent thinking in their citizen journalists? or is it more about cultivating a select group of unpaid stringers?

What gets me in all these experiments is that no one is thinking that maybe, just maybe, The People should be watchdogging the MSM on every level--from the local paper to big media outlets. I wonder how much their desire to incorporate citizens is really a desire to stop the watchdogging and get some cheap labor in the process? There's been talk of outsourcing some journalism jobs to India, but when the media can get The People to do its job for nothing by catering to their sense of civic duty, why even outsource?

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