Our own Kevin McCrea attended J-Lab’s Citizens Media Summit last week. His takeaways from the confab:
- Very easy to get people to contribute photos. Flickr interface particularly
good. People are generally more comfortable sharing photos than
- As we’ve learned before, some contributors like to be edited before their pieces
- Few like to be called "citizen journalist"
- Partnerships (with other publications, etc.) are beneficial but eat up more time
- VoicesOfSanDiego.com, which is a non-profit, uses a PBS-style "membership
- desire for more "technically savvy" journalists, particularly those who could
integrate photo and video
- YourHub.com: licensing (or, in their word, "syndicating") its platform
throughout the country, with papers in CA and FL going live by the end of the
year . . . having .
a "this week’s topic" to lure contributions of a particular theme has never
worked for them . . . has 42 websites and 15 print editions . . . used frisbees
and dog chains in its promotional efforts . . . 26 employees . . . "people love
the print edition" but it confuses people into not knowing about the website . .
has a full-time customer service rep who would-be contributors can call so
that they can be walked through the steps of what needs to be done to contribute
. . uses Unisys as a publishing system . . . "will be profitable by December"
. . 7000 registered users . . . discovered that promoting the ability to
contribute stories actually discouraged readers who simply wanted to read
without contributing . . . took a while to realize that it is not a
newspaper, and has already changed the website to get away from a newspaper look
- community reachout requires continual marketing even beyond the
- check out BBC Video Nation for idea of how citizen video contributions can work
- even if a contributor is looking to publicize themselves through their pieces,
that is still OK since that leads to promotion of the site itself (from
Bakotopia band site)
- at Bluffton Today, everyone who is photographed randomly for the site gets a
business card that says "you’ve been spotted . . . check yourself out at
blufftontoday.com" — great idea!!!
- Adrian: encourage citizens to contribute technology, not just text/photos, to
take better advantage of our content . . . BBC has language that encourages its
users to create things with its tools
- one paper discovered much less profanity in comments without a filter because
that ended the gamesmanship and uses an eBay "trusted seller" model for
- Mary Lou: make contributors the stars . . . "If it’s local & legal, we
publish it. All of it." . . . continually suggest easy ways for people to
contribute — photo contests work particularly well . . . print big for
marketing and revenue . . . three out of four staffers not from the newspaper
business, and staffers have to be open to a new kind of journalism . . people
like to be edited.