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Hypergene MediaBlog » Oh my! South Korea news site makes 'every citizen a reporter'

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Monday, 19 May 2003

Oh my! South Korea news site makes 'every citizen a reporter'

Wired News and San Jose Mercury News (aka Dan Gillmor) have stories about a collaborative online newspaper that has emerged as one of South Korea’s most influential media outlets.

OhmyNews(Korean text) attracts an estimated 2 million daily readers and has more than 26,000 registered citizen journalists. It is widely credited with helping to elect South Korea’s new progressive president, Roh Moo-hyun. And it has done this in just 4 years.

While there does not appear to be an English version, the articles highlight some of the production process:

• OhmyNews edits and posts nearly 150 stories a day with the help of less than 50 editors and reporters with citizens doing most of the contributing.
• Writers get paid based on how newsworthy their story is.
• Anyone can sign up to be a reporter
• Writers must use their real name
• Stories enter an editing queue and are fact-checked before being published.

What is striking is how this production process still resembles that of a daily newspaper with editors, freelancers and deadlines. The difference is that this whole process takes place in public and anyone is free to contribute.

Its chief executive and founder, Oh Yeon-Ho, explains:

"The main concept is that every citizen can be a reporter… We changed the concept of the reporter… a reporter is the one who has the news and who is trying to inform others."
A while back, we heard the futurist, Watts Wacker, speak on how to predict the future. He advised us to find people from the future here today and study them. Some of those people appear to live in South Korea.

In a land of where 70% of the population has access to a broadband Internet connection, news consumers have entered the remunerative chain. They are being paid to contribute their attention and information. They have begun to transform into prosumers who are now challenging mainstream media.

We have seen a glimpse of the future. Can it be long before something similar comes to the shores of America?

Related stories:
nytimes.com
bbc.com
zdnet.co.uk

Posted on May 19, 2003 | 12:43 am EST
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