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1 From Reader to Writer: Citizen Journalism as News Produsage Dr Axel Bruns Queensland University of Technology

2 Citizen Journalism Emergence of key citizen journalism sites: Slashdot Indymedia Kuro5hin Plastic OhmyNews (South Korea, now also International and Japan)South KoreaInternational Japan Wikipedia and Wikinews (but problems with the latter)WikipediaWikinewsproblems individual and group news blogs

3 Key Characteristics citizen journalism processes: most story content generated by average users, not professional journalists and editors limited editorial oversight: very basic checking of stories (e.g. Slashdot), or immediate posting for commentary, rating, and voting by wider community continuous update of stories after publication – through comments or story revision collaborative content creation model, harnessing community knowledge strong focus on discussion, debate, deliberation coverage becomes multiperspectival

4 Open Source Journalism strong similarities between citizen journalism and open source: opening out production process to all participants belief that cream will rise to the top – through power of eyeballs reconceptualisation and acceptance of products as always unfinished, constantly updated application of alternative licencing schemes to enable flexible update and distribution of products but need for effective systems and methodologies: Indymedia problem: lack of open editing tools to enable collaborative quality control Wikinews problem: failure to offer space for debate and deliberation to facilitate the development and update of stories

5 Towards Produsage Citizen journalism, open source, and others are examples of produsage: user-led production of content collaborative engagement between users from diverse backgrounds and with differing intensity production of constantly revised, evolving artefacts through iterative, palimpsestic processes application of alternative copyright licences to facilitate development processes shift from writer/reader dichotomy to a hybrid producer/user model – the produser

6 The Produsage Value Chain content development space set up by community or company (e.g. Wikimedia Foundation) commercial / non-profit harnessing of user- generated content (e.g. The Sims) commercial / non-profit services to support content development (e.g. Red Hat, SourceForge) commercial activities by users themselves (e.g. support services, consultancies, content sales) initial IP contributions from public domain or commercial sources collaborative, iterative, evolutionary, palimpsestic user-led content development valuable, often commercial-grade content is created

7 Economic Models for News Produsage Open source: harvesting the hive – e.g. Red Hat harbouring the hive – e.g. Sourceforge sustaining communities – contributions from commercial partners, corporate umbrella sustaining individuals – provision of value-added services and consultancy Citizen journalism: harvesting the hive – e.g. BBC News, CNN harbouring the hive – e.g. Wikimedia, Wikia sustaining communities – advertising? corporate umbrella? philanthropic support? sustaining individuals – punditry? consultancy?

8 Ownership, Trust, and Liability Open source: ownership: relatively strict controls to avoid unauthorised use of commercial IP trust: power of eyeballs argument effective – widespread use of open source for mission-critical applications speedy updates to fix bugs and add features liability: relatively untested – use at own risk approach effective distribution system for corrections Citizen journalism: ownership: frequent incorporation of commercial news reports – legal grey area trust: power of eyeballs varies from site to site – trust gradually building balanced by cynicism about commercial news content often intense discussion of disputed claims liability relatively untested very limited potential for effective corrections and retractions but similar problems in traditional media?

9 Futures for Citizen Journalism Where to from here? variety of very well established news produsage models from Slashdot to OhmyNews further opportunities in using wiki-based systems increasing potential for audiovisual news – etc. long-term economic sustainability remains a significant question how do news produsage sites meet their running costs? how do individuals become self-supporting news produsers?

10 Futures for Citizen Journalism Where to from here? increased exposure likely to increase risks stronger responses to habitual IP violations backlash from commercial mainstream media operators (even while they embrace some citizen journalism content) trust and liability issues highlighted more prominently growing political and lobby group interference shifting balance between traditional and citizen news media – see tomorrows panel

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