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« Today's Economist echoes our themes, their word: survival. | Main | Communities, Citizen brand and the support economy »

April 02, 2005

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pb

To borrow the jargon of nonlinear dynamics, citizen newspapers widen the "phase space" of media to include more variations on a theme. But most of what is thrown up will be ONLY that, a variation on something that's already been done by the mainstream media. Citizen newspapers neither increase reader discretion, nor handle reader gullibility, so it is difficult to imagine much coming of it.

A real innovation would be some kind of agent that filtered out news intelligently, which evolved along with you. Does any crude form of that kind of thing exist? I call it a Gaian Agent because it is symbiotic to your interests, feeding off your having been fed by it.

Interesting article though.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi PB

Thanks for posting, and very valid points. The one incredible exception that we have found (and feature in one of our case studies) is what I consider the prototype of the newspaper of tomorrow. It is the Oh My News of Korea, already Korea's 3rd largest newspaper in only its fourth year. They have 35,000 citizen reporters.

This kind of activism itself is not new. It is the whole model behind Oh My News. They actually pay each contributor (I recall it was about 30 USD per article) and they have editorial staff and strict guidelines on checking sources etc. The quality of the reporting is at least as good as the other newspapers in Korea, but their "journalist" coverage is MUCH more broad than any rivals. The paper is so influential with the younger populations that the freshly elected President gave his first interview to Oh My News.

This is the kind of new way of engaging communities that we talk about in the book. Yes, it has been tried before, but until you do it right, respecting the contributors - and rewarding them (in this case also monetarily), only then can it succeed.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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