Citizen media startup principals explain themselves

Frank Barnako of CBSMarketwatch.com interviews Mark Potts and Susan DeFife, the folks behind backfence.com, a community journalism startup in the Washington, DC area. Why will people post messages to these communities? Potts says: “Because they are going to start to see how that community builds on itself. The value is in one person reporting, people telling others about it and the community knowledge that results.” The interview cites examples of other community journalism efforts that are succeeding and explains how such a participatory effort will make money.

Previous backfence.com coverage

University of Michigan seeks “news with a voice”

The proliferation of citizen-journalism continues. The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor has launched a new online news service and invited students ranging from high school to grad school to contribute its contents. Highestwire lets any student—not just University of Michigan students—post articles, along with images and multimedia clips, on any topic that strikes their fancy. “As long as you’re writing good stuff, you’re all right with us,” the site proclaims. While editors will touch up stories submitted by students, the site seeks “news with a voice,” according to editor-in-chief Karen B. Schwartz, a Columbia University graduate… Read More »

Another grain of salt for Wikipedia

Larry Sanger, a recently-departed co-founder of Wikipedia, has written a lengthy diatribe about the problems with the open-source participatory encylopedia. The primary issue, he says, is anti-elitism:

As a community, Wikipedia lacks the habit or tradition of respect for expertise. As a community, far from being elitist (which would, in this context, mean excluding the unwashed masses), it is anti-elitist (which, in this context, means that expertise is not accorded any special respect, and snubs and disrespect of expertise is tolerated).

The consequence, according to Sanger, is experts staying away from Wikipedia because they don’t… Read More »

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