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Nobody can foresee events such as natural disasters. They happen, are often tragic, and history records the event as a snapshot in time. Sometimes that history is based on well-documented photos, videos, and personal observations, and sometimes it is recorded as reality determined by persons or governments with an agenda different than presenting empirical truth. The government in Egypt recently tried disrupting communications by temporarily stopping Internet and phone access, as well as attempting (in some cases violently) to restrict or limit access to demonstrations by journalists and the international media. The blockage was done to thwart seditionaries and protestors who had been using social media outlets to organize activities and share information about the uprising with the outside world. (BetaNews) But the images still found their way out of Cairo to the in... (more)

Why Local Newspapers Require Radical Reinvention to Escape a Very Grim Future

Local newspapers and business-to-business publications face similar challenges as drastic drops in ad revenue drive equally drastic drops in relevant and compelling content.  But for newspapers, ad revenue declines are exacerbated because the highly profitable classified advertising sections have almost disappeared as readers flock to the Internet.  Moreover, business-to-business magazines that are well positioned still offer uniquely valuable niche content that helps readers succeed. Their readers still count on them. That’s not so true for our local dailies. I believe that the potential nail in the coffin for local newspapers is the ease with which readers can access national and international content thanks to the Internet.  Conversely, I believe that the potential salvation for local newspapers is to become resoundingly local. Local Newspaper News Monopoly Disa... (more)

Citizen Journalism as a Catalyst for Transforming Media

New Media on Ulitzer Another incident on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) hits YouTube, and the world is once again asking the question if BART Police are using too much force, the police acted appropriately, or if BART passengers simply recorded a snapshot in time that could be interpreted at a later date. In the recent past, to find out what happened during an incident such as the most recent BART scuffle, you would be dependent on a newspaper's beat journalist to hang around a police station. He'd get a copy of the official police report, perhaps talk with one of his friends on the force, and transcribe what he gathered. Now news and media are real time. You can get Twitter tweets and video feeds from mobile phones, laptop computers, and reporters on the scene with CNN (or other international news sources). In many cases even established news outlets are starti... (more)

Deadlock at Copenhagen Climate Summit

The headlines say it all… “Further commitment needed to break negotiation deadlock.” The rich nations vs. the poor nations. Industrialists vs. environmentalists. And at the end of the day, looking out over the Pacific Ocean towards Catalina Island from Long Beach, the dense brown sludge of polluted air is a constant reminder we are dumping horrifying amounts of human waste into the oceans and air. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says “world policymakers do not have to choose between a clean environment and economic growth.” Schwarzenegger believes people worried about climate change should pay more attention to companies, universities and “ordinary folks” and not put so much emphasis on a multinational consensus. (AP) If you listen to the entrepreneurs and innovators in Silicon Valley, they would tend to agree with Governor Schwarzenegger. Green tech is bec... (more)

Copenhagen Climate Summit Ends – What Did They Accomplish?

"The Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, and other heads of delegation present at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen,… Have agreed on this Copenhagen Accord which is operational immediately." And so ends the Copenhagen Climate Summit. But what did the participants agree to? Was it substantial enough to make a difference? Did they silence the skeptics? Will Sarah Palin finally believe Alaska is melting into the North Pacific? German Chancellor Angela Merkel defends the Copenhagen climate summit. In an interview with the German news source Bild am Sonntag Merkel stated "Copenhagen is a first step toward a new world climate order - no more, but also no less. Anyone who just badmouths Copenhagen now is engaging in the business of those who are applying the brakes rather than moving forward." The climate conference ended Saturday w... (more)

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Citizen Journalist?

Citizen Journalism on Ulitzer If you’re seeking wealth and fame, journalism might not be your best choice. No one enters the field to get rich, and only a few ever become famous. An entry-level journalist will barely earn enough to survive if a job is even available in today’s shrinking journalism job market. Even experienced beat reporters don’t live in the rich part of town. The only people receiving truly handsome wages in the news media today are celebrity journalists seen on network and cable television news stations. Fame is also elusive for most journalists. Only a few become as renowned as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two reporters from The Washington Post who broke the story of the Watergate break-ins in the 1970s. Their front-page articles were responsible for forcing President Richard Nixon to resign. But what other famous journalists can you name? Th... (more)

Citizen Journalism Websites You Might Want to Imitate

Here are three examples of citizen journalism websites you might want to imitate: The first example comes from the UK - a blog called BloodandProperty http://bloodandproperty.blogspot.com/. This blogger was brought to my attention by UK Guardian blogger Dave Hill (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/davehillblog/2010/mar/16/guardian-top-london-bloggers-blood-and-property-hackney)  who refers to him (or her?) as "a Londoner who is inquisitive, persistent, literate, sane, interested in local issues and very interested in politics." Hill has added BloodandProperty to his list of Top London Bloggers. One reason Hill listed BloodandProperty was that the blog recently scored an interesting interview with a Hackney town council leader. This achievement of a locally focused blogger demonstrates that bloggers who develop a following with well written, well delivered news will even... (more)

Strong Need for Citizen Journalists

The problem of shrinking professional news staffs hit me personally when a friend of mine was killed in an auto accident on March 8. The Denver Post reported the accident and his death, but it failed to follow-up the next day with an article explaining what happened and to identify the driver who caused the five-car crash. I called the newspaper several days after the accident to request a follow-up article. At the funeral six days after the accident, friends and family were forced to speculate about what may have happened because there hadn’t been any subsequent news stories. Lack of enough staff to cover local news is a problem we talk about a lot at the National Association of Citizen Journalists. We believe citizen journalists are part of the solution because they can help cover news when professional reporters are unavailable. The day after the funeral, I decid... (more)

Citizen Journalists’ Success Honored by CNN

CNN.com recently announced the winners of its inaugural iReport Awards at the 2011 South by Southwest Conference and Festivals. The winners were selected from more than 150,000 iReports submitted to the cable news station in 2010 and represented citizen journalists from around the world. Awards were presented in eight categories:  Breaking News Coverage, Original Reporting, Compelling Imagery (Photos or Video), Commentary, Personal Story, Interview, Community Choice and iReport Spirit. The full story posted by CNNPressRoom.Blogs.com is HERE. CNN's commitment to citizen journalism appears to be growing and the offering of these awards is an important step forward for aspiring and active citizen journalists. ... (more)

Sunshine Week Partners With Helium to Encourage Citizen Journalists to Write About Open Government and Freedom of Information Issues

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sunshine Week has joined forces with Helium (http://www.helium.com/), a leader in online citizen journalism, to generate discussion about issues that reflect open government and Freedom of Information. The innovative partnership provides Helium members with a platform to write about issues raised by Sunshine Week. The partnership provides citizen journalists with the opportunity to write about Sunshine Week's issues, as well as the Sunshine Campaign, which is seeking to get candidates at all levels of office to address open government issues. Today, writers are covering Sunshine Week topics at Helium that include "Has access to government information played a role in your life?" and "How important is government openness to American democracy?" "Partnering with Helium is a great opportunity for Sunshine Week not only to ... (more)

Enis Berberoğlu Named Editor-in-Chief of Hürriyet

New Media on Ulitzer I left Chicago late the night of December 30, via Turkish Airlines to spend the New Year with my mom in Turkey. Our plane arrived in Istanbul the next evening. There were five hours left until the New Year and the traffic from the airport to the hotel was bumper-to-bumper. I saw this on a CNN International program. I don't think there is another country on earth that loves their Papa Noel (Santa Claus), Christmas trees and Christmas music more than Turkey. And I am not sure if there is another Muslim country out there that is in love with Christmas like the Turks, I doubt it. I had an early New Year's Eve dinner by myself at Hüsrev, a local rice and beans restaurant. Mom and my sister would arrive from Eskişehir by train the next day. I woke up early in my hotel room, picked up my morning paper, went downstairs for breakfast before heading out... (more)