It takes a (Potemkin) village
Tom Grubisich has a review of citizen journalism sites posted on the Online Journalism Review. (I found it via the heated discussion it spurred on the Online News listserv.)
The reviews aren’t good:
But when you take a closer look, what you see, apart from a couple of honorable exceptions, is the Internet equivalent of Potemkin villages — an elaborate façade with little substance behind it.
But his conclusion leaves me with some ammo for those who think our plan is too labor-intensive:
The best citizen journalism sites at the community level —
iBrattleboro and WestportNow — buzz with activity. That didn’t happen
spontaneously. The proprietors of both sites know their communities,
are passionately engaged with them and, in their own ways, are not
afraid to put on editor’s (or motivator’s) hats.