Stephanie Sword, a Griffith University communications student, asked me a few questions for an assignment. Below are Stephanie’s questions and my answers about Citizen Journalism: read on to see my comments on the term itself, and generally where I think the “citizen” fits in the evolving media environment.
The Spokesman Review is doing some cool things with Google Maps.
User generated content is populating a map, so that individual stories are tied to a particular location using plain text, images and video.
This could be compared to Every Block, but for breaking news/continuing stories on a particular event, rather than data.
The potential for storm stories, either by user submitted photos, or using information as it comes in from police, makes it a great tool for 1) rolling updates of affected areas and, 2) a continuing story of what people are experiencing on the ground.
And they’re sending it in to you, talking about it, interacting with it.
Often we may write, “The Smith, Jones, and Harry street bridges in Doe Shire have been washed away by flood waters,” but people could have no idea where those are.
In some instances online sites have been giving a link to a Google map of a street location mentioned in a crime story, for instance.
Expand that to include multiple locations and you have big-picture view, that everyone can see.
Colin Mulvaney works at the Spokesman Review, and for more pearls of online wisdom, see his blog, Mastering Multimedia.