Web 2.0

Citizen journos ready for vote

David Cohn at “open-source journalism” site newassignment.net lists nine ways citizens will be covering tomorrow’s US congressional election.

One of those ways is the Polling Place Photo Project in which Americans are invited to snap photos at their local polling station. The PPPP project is sponsored by AIGA [a professional association of graphic designers] and supported by newassignment.net.

The PPPP site says the project will capture “the richness and complexity of voting in America”.

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OhmyNews braces for losses

Whenever people talk about citizen journalism they usually get around to discussing Korea’s OhmyNews [ Korean edition | English edition ].

It’s well-established (since 2000) and very big (44,000 citizen scribes plus 90 paid staff including 65 editors).

It’s even credited with helping swing the Korean election result in 2002.

But a report by Moon Ihlwan in Business Week says OhmyNews is facing stiff competition and its barely break-even results are likely to turn to red ink this year.

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Publishing chain to ‘crowdsource’ news

US publishing chain Gannett will no longer have “newsrooms” at its papers. Instead: “Information Centres”.

Among other changes, the company will turn increasingly to its customers as sources of information – an approach known as “crowdsourcing”.

Jeff Howe on Wired News reports that the changes began two days ago.

The initiative emphasizes four goals: Prioritize local news over national news; publish more user-generated content; become 24-7 news operations, in which the newspapers do less and the websites do much more; and finally, use crowdsourcing methods to put readers to work as watchdogs, whistle-blowers and researchers in large, investigative features.

Gannett is the largest US newspaper publisher by circulation. The company owns 90 daily papers including the country’s largest newspaper, USA Today, as well as nearly 1000 daily publications plus TV stations and websites.

CEO Craig Dubow, in a memo to staff, said the concept had been tested in 11 Gannett locations, including three full scale implementations. Other sites tested different aspects of information gathering such as crowdsourcing and multimedia. He described the results as “remarkable”:

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The people speak

A few months ago, netscape.com adopted a social media approach to displaying news on its front page [ story | my comment ]. Reader votes determine the story rankings.

And this morning Netscape readers voted an nzherald story into the number two spot.

Netscape.com front page

This, and links from other sites adopting a social media approach, will be a useful complement to the real-time feedback editors receive via traffic stats, and by looking at inbound links from Google News, blogs and other “referrers”.

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Toronto to host Mesh 2.0

Mesh conferenceI’m blocking off a few days in my calendar for the second Mesh conference in Toronto next May. Although it’s barely five months since I was lucky enough to attend the first Mesh – also in Toronto – I’m ready and eager for more.

Mesh is all about social media – principally the sorts of thing we used to hear described as Web 2.0. The first conference drew almost 400 people, including guest luminaries Om Malik, Steve Rubel, Paul Kedrosky, Michael Geist and many more. The atmosphere was fantastic – remarkable really, since this was the first time Stuart, Rob, Mathew, Mark and Mike had attempted to organise such a major event.

MP3s of some presentations have just been posted on the Mesh site and are well worth a listen. Mesh was more than great presenters, however. It was also a chance to meet some of the world’s most interesting digital entrepreneurs, and there was a lot of networking going on. Stuart summed it up at the opening session: “Let’s mesh”.

It will be hard to outdo Mesh 1, but I’m sure the guys won’t have any trouble attracting a large and enthusiastic crowd for Mesh 2. See you in Toronto!

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