This weekend was all about citizen journalism (News 2.0) at our house.
It all started off when my wife Abby took photo’s of the McNaught comet (we drove around the coast looking for a clear spot and came upon a car park full of people with cameras, binoculars, telescopes, it was fun). We didn’t have a tripod so Abby rested the camera on a wooden pillar and took a 20 second exposure, it seemed to do the trick.
When we got home we uploaded the photo’s to our PC, and zoomed in on a few, in one photo the comet seemed to have the form of a human being, it was uncanny.
Abby said how can I get this on to the net so people can see it…I said “thanks for asking”
Firstly we uploaded it to a photo hosting service.
She didn’t want to start a blog, just for one post, and bookmarking it to a social bookmark service only goes so far for exposure.
So the next choice was citizen journalism, what a perfect use case, she wanted to let people know of this photo in the context of news, and local news at that.
The perfect choice was PerthNorg, a local news 2.0 citizen journalism site for the city of Perth.
Abby joined and posted some content and pointed to the URL her photo’s are hosted on, then she chose a news topic category and submit.
There it was from out on the field to a news story on the web for all local people to see.
Local is the key, if she blogged this on her own blog the audience is random and there is no context, since she posted it on a local news site the audience is already present, and the context is local and of a news-based nature.
The only problem we found was that for friends to comment or vote for the post they had to register…my brother lives in Melbourne, what is his incentive to register in order to comment or vote, that’s all he wants to do, he doesn’t live in Perth, even if he did he doesn’t neccessarily want to post content. So we found that registering to interact at a minimal level was affecting comments and votes on Abby’s post.
Then she wanted to go beyond local news and posted the story on NewsVine, NewsCloud (formerly CommonTimes), WikiNews (very hard to use by the way), Topix (as a topic forum post), and I also posted it to Digg, to generate some exposure.
Another choice would be to find a news 2.0 service dedicated to a topic eg. Citizen Journalism on Space.
The best we found were a few Astronomy, Space type forums where she posted to.
Does anyone have any suggestions on any other sites we could of posted to?
Other sites we could of considered (not really news based):
clipmarks - kind of like Newsvine, but not based around news content, it is for any type of content.
Gather - kind of like NewsVine, and more a blogging format than clipmarks, but again this is just general content, not specifically for news.
CommonGate - Again like Gather as it is a generic blog network, but then similar to PerthNorg in that you choose a category to post to, then you can look at your user profile to see all your posts. So all your posts can be seen in your public profile page, and they also can be seen within a news category. In CommonGate, you rove around posting on different topic blogs, but you can also see all your posts on your profile.
Sponit - a generic blog network, kind of inbetween clipmarks and Gather. Gather is more normal blogging, only within a network, and clipmarks it more about clipping, Sponit is blogging posts with a blog network, but your blog doesn’t look like a regular blog, it’s more a text space.
Loopnote - similar to Sponit but more focused on posting alerts
IT Toolbox - a topic based blog network
GigaOM - a topic based closed blog network
Corante Web Hub - a topic based RSS feed network (content is re-syndicated)
[ADDED 24/01/07: Also check out Wikio - become a Cit J just like Newsvine and post stories, choose a category for your story, give it tags, people can then vote for it…you can also view posts by popularity]
[ADDED 10/02/07: NowPublic is another Cit J service like Newsvine, NewsCloud and Wikio]
[ADDED 10/02/07: Also see Change.Org for a topic based Cit J site on social activism]