Journalists need 'new, collaborative ways to tell stories'

September 21, 2009
Journalists need 'new, collaborative ways to tell stories'
User-generated content allows journalists to explore new, collaborative ways to tell stories.

(PhysOrg.com) -- User-generated content may make some in the mainstream media 'uneasy' but it allows journalists to 'explore new, collaborative ways to tell stories', according to a paper published by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ).

The word ‘user’ shows that the people once at the end of the production chain have ‘upended the standard order’, writes RISJ report author and award-winning columnist at The , John Kelly. He argues in his report Red Kayaks and Hidden Gold that journalists must respond to this changed dynamic.

Mr Kelly, Visiting Fellow at the RISJ, says: ‘News was a broadcast from one to many. We live in a network age now, where the many can talk to the many, bypassing the one completely.’ He points out that, ‘the tables have turned so much that the old producers - the newspapers, the TV news operations - are now users', with the mainstream media continually asking citizens to have their say and citizens obliging.

Commenting on the phrase ‘user-generated content’, he writes: ‘There is much contained within the phrase to make journalists uneasy. “Content” is a word that calls to mind a commodity, something bland used to fill a hole. “Generated” isn’t much better, suggesting as it does material that’s created in some vaguely spontaneous way.'

However, the report goes on to highlight the views of supporters of , who argue that it can improve journalism itself. ‘It can make them more interested in their communities, it can demystify the political process, it can excite them about the things the best journalism strives to do: explain, crusade, call to account.’

Mr Kelly’s report sounds a note of caution in its conclusion: ‘It can do these things. How often it does do them, and for whom, is something worthy of further study. In the meantime, the question “Should there be citizen journalism?” is beside the point. Journalists must accept that the dynamic has changed. They must see the public as more than an inert, monolithic audience. They must explore new, collaborative ways to tell stories.

'Mainstream news outlets that neglect to allow their readers to participate will risk losing those readers. In a culture that increasingly views news as a commodity, users will look for differentiating factors as they choose their news sources. The quality and legitimacy of the product will be aspects - perhaps even the most important ones - but so too will be the extent to which the media responds to its customers and gives them useful tools to customize, share and contribute to the .'

Provided by Oxford University (news : web)

Explore further: NY Times launches local websites network

Related Stories

NY Times launches local websites network

March 3, 2009

The New York Times has launched an experimental network of websites providing local community news and information for residents of neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey.

Fox News taps MySpace for citizen journalists

April 20, 2009

MySpace on Monday invited its members to become volunteer "uReporters" by supplying news pictures or videos for use at the social networking website and Fox News network.

Recommended for you

Just how good (or bad) is the fossil record of dinosaurs?

August 28, 2015

Everyone is excited by discoveries of new dinosaurs – or indeed any new fossil species. But a key question for palaeontologists is 'just how good is the fossil record?' Do we know fifty per cent of the species of dinosaurs ...

Fractals patterns in a drummer's music

August 28, 2015

Fractal patterns are profoundly human – at least in music. This is one of the findings of a team headed by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen and Harvard University ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

NeilFarbstein
1 / 5 (1) Sep 21, 2009
as far as the network..I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it!!!!!!!!
otto1923
not rated yet Sep 21, 2009
I see more and more listings for Wiki articles on the Google News website for current, realtime news stories. This is already a collaborative interactive recent-and-past news site. Oh, hi Neil-

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.