We Media
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About "We Media"

We are at the beginning of a Golden Age of journalism — but it is not journalism as we have known it. Media futurists have predicted that by 2021, "citizens will produce 50 percent of the news peer-to-peer." However, mainstream news media have yet to meaningfully adopt or experiment with these new forms.

Historically, journalists have been charged with informing the democracy. But their future will depend not on only how well they inform but how well they encourage and enable conversations with citizens. That is the challenge.

This report details the important considerations when exploring a collaborative effort between audience and traditional media organizations.

Written by Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis
Edited by J.D. Lasica, senior editor Online Journalism Review

By Dale Peskin, Co-Director of The Media Center

By Dan Gillmor, The San Jose Mercury News

1. Introduction to participatory journalism
Armed with easy-to-use Web publishing tools, always-on connections and increasingly powerful mobile devices, the online audience has the means to become an active participant in the creation and dissemination of news and information.

2. Cultural context: Behind the explosion of participatory media
The Internet has caused significant changes to journalism. It remains to be see exactly how those changes will manifest themselves and how much of a change we will see. The creation of the Internet as we know it helped create media-centric lives. It has changed the dynamic of news and turned the customer into a contributor.

3. How participatory journalism is taking form
Participatory journalism uses a "publish, then filter" model instead of the traditional "filter, then publish" model. We examine the self correcting process, strengths and weaknesses of each of the major participatory journalisms systems or formats. These include: discussion groups, user generated content, weblogs (blogs), collaborative publishing, peer-to-peer systems and XML syndication. The various functions the audience can serve are examined and the type of participatory journalism formats these functions thrive in are also provided.

4. The rules of participation
What motivates the audience to take part in participatory journalism? Social needs and how participatory journalism meets those needs are detailed. Like any social system, participatory media have developed their own rules. These rules and how they work are discussed.

5. Implications for media and journalism
Key trends shaping the future of media and journalism and impact of the Internet include: the democratization of media due to low barriers to entry, challenges to media's hegemony, a redefinition of credibility - who has it and what it takes to create it, the rise of new experts and watchdogs, changes to the economic models for media companies and the new expectations and demands of the consumer in the journalistic process.

6. Potential benefits of We Media
Potential benefits to media companies and businesses that adopt participatory journalism in a meaningful way may include: increasted trust, shared responsibility in informaing democracy, creation of memorable experiences, attract younger audience and creating a stronger relationship with the community at large.

7. How media might respond
Ways for media companies to integrate participatory journalism into existing operations include: understand and build on the concept that connections equal value, make newsrooms responsive to change, give staff some level of autonomy, embrace the audience as a valued partner, embrace the customer as an innovator and share the story, don't own it.

Appendix: Resources for We Media
A list of resources, from web sites to books to tools for and about We Media.

Appendix: Glossary on participatory journalism
A Wikipedia-based glossry of terms related to participatory journalism and social media.

Appendix: Citations
Research papers, essays, books, social bookmarking sites, articles and news stories referencing or citing We Media.

Appendix: We Media in education
A list of classes where We Media is required reading or a subject of class discussion.

Additional links
Chinese Translation of this page

Posted on Sep 21, 03 | 9:14 am EST | PermaLink
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