Summer Portal

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Summer Portal • Manifesto• Report Outline • Side Stories • Glossary
Guiding Doc • Case study format • Rejected text

To Do Research/Other

  • links to style/etiquette/ethics guides for bloggers or citmedia, and/or posts about blog style, ethics, etiquette
  • Multimedia training for journalists Please post here and/or tag as MR_training any links to folks offering multi-media training/consulting for journalists, editors or newsrooms as a whole
    • -- aimed at public radio producers, has information on new tools for audio production
  • Timeline/table of tools?

Some of the Tools, Platforms and Other Innovations Driving Online Media Growth Name, created by, important dates? (launched, or achieved milestone, or both), description RSS Creative Commons Word Press Moveable Type twitter Flickr facebook Technorati Digg Reddit


  • Screenshots: read through each, check footnotes, snap examples
  • Table of info on Gothamist sites

Sidebar ideas

  • The typical power users
    • we've had three so far that are involved in building their own systems
  • Other news aggregators (to go with nowpublic)
  • The Chicago media ecosystem
    • Chi-Town
    • Tribune
    •  :Vocalo
    • Chicago Public Radio
    • Windy City
    • Gaper's Block


  • Firstname last, personal interview, 28 July 2008.


  • IReports - Matt will call them Tuesday waiting on PR approval
  • OVERDUE Matt: Chi-Town - Matt will send second draft Tuesday
  • Speakeasy find full text of this paper: Speakeasy: overcoming barriers and promoting community development in an immigrant neighborhood, add to bibliography and correct the following sentence:
    • A perfect example of this is Tad Hirsch’s wonderful project Speakeasy [insert link to something easy to read], which uses mobile phones to facilitate on-the-spot linguistic and cultural interpretation for people when and where they need it: at the counter at the Motor Vehicle Registry, at the doctor’s, at the Post Office. What makes the project brilliant is not the combination of PC-based telephony and web-based scheduling (words to use: ubiquitous technology, telephony, PC-telephony, expert referral service, PBX) but the work to identify the people and institutions best poised to benefit: Asian immigrants with limited or no English in and around Boston’s Chinatown; their bilingual and usually wealthier compatriots who were in a position to volunteer small amounts of time but predominately live in suburbs, making a trip into town to translate a 20-minute parent-teacher conference into a frustrating two-hour odyssey; and the Asian Community Development Corporation [link], a group already working to link the two.

Matt waiting on

  • iReport interview date
  • other case study priorities
    • separate out into separate docs, post on wiki so we know there's only one master text?
    • Make sure to send Tihomir a list of ALL cases so he puts rss feeds for them into mediacloud

Traffic tables

Site Unique visitors / month pageviews / month Alexa
Gothamist x x x
Chi-Town x x x

Case-study proposals


These should be defined in: Glossary

  1. Authors: Commentators and reporters
  2. Editors
  3. Publishers
  4. Distributors
  5. Audience



These media outlets typically integrate all of the functional roles described above under the vertical control of one entity. They include reporters, commentators, and editors to produce stories, and manage the publishing and distribution of the stories to their audience. Publsihers normally aim to build a loyal audience for a definable, consistent product and seel advertising and subscriptions. The overall editorial vision is more important than the identity or status of the authors and the publsihers put significant effort, usually with a professional staff, into maintaining those aspects of design, quality, timeliness, style, point of view, and coverage that they believe their target audience wants.


Chi-Town Daily News

majority citizen-contributed -- nonprofit -- local

Covers Chicago news. Published by PublicMedia, inc, with a non-profit model. 19,000 readers monthly. Ads are not run on the frontpage, but subpages do have skyscrapers and other blocks of local relevance (no Google text ads). Ads can be target to a neighborhood, run across the site, and sent by email to users who have signed up for Chicago headlines & breaking news. Most of the content is written by volunteers. A board of directors (standard for the non-profit model) includes academics, journalists, a social worker, a corporate executive, and a lawyer.

Some news on the homepage is collected from other site feeds, but this news is clearly differentiated from original . Original content dominates the site, unlike larger media aggregators, like AllVoices or Topix. Registered users can post comments.

Citizens are invited to apply to contribute to the site. Volunteers are asked to write about one article a month, attend an orientation program, and learn some journalistic theory. ( The site has a sub-site that presents the principles of community journalism: Little information is provided about contributing authors (no clear email address, biographical information)

Visitors can "subscribe" by donating via paypal. A monthly subscription costs $5. Subscribing is modeled similar to public radio fund drives, with incentives (shirts, prints, advertising, other swag) for contributions. Subscribing does not provide any other features or a print edition. Fundraising goal for 2005 is $250,000.

Site appears to be built with Drupal.

Gothamist & company

Lead site of a network of 14 metropolitan blogs devoted to local news, sports, food and events. A significant amount of original editor-controlled content is posted daily. Staff writers report on local news and events, often citing and linking to newspaper stories and other websites. Articles are blog-like in format and voice (chatty and somewhat cheeky). Readers are encouraged to send in tips and photos and can apply to become contributors. Sites are mostly based in large US cities, 4 international. 2 sites are "on hiatus" (Paris, Miami). Advertising units available; CPM ranges from $3 to $10. Other funding. From about page: Most popular local blog in NYC. Most readers in 25-34 age range.

-Most popular local blog in NYC -Most readers in 25-34 age range

Being written

  • Ohmynews – (Publisher, international, pro-am, unique and possibly non transferable business model)
    • todo: This is a shortened and differently focused version of Mary’s. Needs re-writing to typology and format.
  • Global Voices (Publisher with elements of agency and audience-generated, nonprofit, successful in everything but commercial revenue and mass media reach on non-crisis stories)
    • Lokman Tsui, Annenberg East, to write
    • Date expected for first edits: ??

Sites that try to do Citizen Journalsim but are mostly Aggregators


Launched in March 2006, acquired by in October 2007. Newsvine is in some ways an aggregator: it posts stories by the AP, ESPN, NYTimes, and NBC, as well as snippets and full text from local newspapers (Boston Globe, etc). Some stories are posted automatically, others are added ("seeded" in the site's terminology) by users. Wire articles (on "The Wire") are separated from user-contributed articles ("The Vine"). Newsvine claims that there is little or no editorial control exercised over wire reports. Users can comment and vote on articles -- highly rated posts will appear in better positions on the site. 90% of ad revenue from a post goes to its author.

More information available from the blog of founder Mike Davidson,

For a short tour:


aggregator -- little citizen journalism -- vc funded -- editors promote articles --

"Crowd powered media." Claims to have approx. 120,000 contributors in 140 countries.

High-profile deal with AP but not clear if any stories have been picked up. Press release from 2/9/07 says:

In the early stages of the relationship, AP bureaus will work with NowPublic communities in selected locations on ways to enhance regional news coverage. National AP news desks also may tap the network in breaking news situations where citizen contributors may capture critical information and images. NowPublic also will help AP extend its coverage of virtual communities, such as social networks and contributed content sites, Ferrara said.

Funded mostly by venture capital and some advertising. 12.5 million in venture capital.

Contributors unpaid but possible AP syndication leveraged as financial reward. From an interview in Gigaomwith NP CEO Len Brody:

“We’re personally not big believers in paying for content, because we want you to own your content.” Instead, NowPublic offers the possibility of a paid syndication deal with the AP. In the future, using some of its funding, the company wants to create a point system based on frequency and quality of participation — but not individual contributions — that might end up in financial rewards. [1]

NP subscribes to a fluid definition of news and emphasizes “hyperpersonal” over “hyperlocal.” Still, most stories seem to be “newsy”, either national or international, and to originate from professional sources.

NowPublic lists three desired qualities for submitted news: 1. Your eyewitness account: Original, relevant information about a current event that you have actually witnessed, documented, or researched; 2. New information: bits of information you have collected, arranged, tied together and put into a context in relation to a current event; 3. Commentary: your advice or analysis directly related to a current event. (via

The site doesn’t seem to produce a great deal of original content. Even though original reporting is highly encouraged, “Contributors” often post newspaper and wire stories with a line or two of commentary, or more often, a brief summary. Others can then post videos or pictures to appear with the story, but most of these don’t seem to be original either.

In this sense, the site acts as a citizen aggregator rather than a publisher of citizen reporting. Front-page stories have between 50 and 200 views and a handful of comments. Top stories (ranked by users) featured on top of homepage, the rest arranged under sub-headings such as “health,” “sports,” and “world.”


Local -- user-curated -- social media -- little citizen journalism -- majority aggregated

Launched in 2004. More of an aggregator: "...aggregate news from thousands of sources, create thousands of topically driven news web pages and populate each of those pages with only news about that particular topic." ( Forums opened December 2005. Editor-users and discussion in the Open Directory Project model added April 2007 (Topix founders started the ODP).

The site opens with the headline "Your Town. Your News. Your Take." and presents the name of the city in large type, along with sample posts from the local news forum. Most popular general news articles have a secondary position.

Location is probably identified by IP address tracing. Local news is provided by a variety of wire services and other, mid- to large-size publishers (,, Cape Cod Times, others for Cambridge). Local business information is provided by InfoUSA.

Prominent on the site are discussion forums (the site claims over 360,000 Forums, 118,000 comments / day, 32.4 million total in June 2008). In the Cambridge forum, there were 2 posts edited in the last day, and 4 edited in the last week. Appears to be more social media than citizen journalism. National and international interest forums were much more active, with hundreds of active threads.

Vistors are invited by a banner to "Become a Topix Editor today!" Editors find stories from the forums, Net, or wire services, edit the stories (summary, headline, photos), and push them to relevant sections of the site. Editors can also contribute original reporting through this process.

McClatchy, the Tribune Company, and Gannett have invested in the company.

News Agency


Resells its stories to other distributors rather than seeking out its own audience. Reuters, AP.

Author-centric model


A single author or group of authors controls the publication of stories.

  • Baristanet – (Author-centric, hyperlocal, hobbyist business model)
    • todo: Tie to typology, some additional content analysis of the site, additional quotes, analysis.
  • Local news blogs:
  • Newspaper columnist blogs: Status of NYT blogs with little editing? WashPost?
  • Gothamist ??



Content creation relies on significant contributions from the community of audience-contributors who were not involved in founding the entity. Slashdot, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter.

  • The Forum – (audience-contributed, nonprofit, hyperlocal, all authors volunteer)
  • Backfence – (audience-contributed, commercial, hyperlocal, all authors volunteer, a FAILED site)
    • needs to be re-written from the ground up
  • :Vocalo – (Public radio bold experiment, audience-generated)
    • todo: Tie to typology, additional content analysis of the site, and some up-to-date quotes as the project is really new and changing fast.
  • CurrentTV -- Al Gore TV. UGC. Shorts. Pulled from audience content in some way. They pay for it. They buy all the rights forever and always. Aspiring producers go here to get their stuff? Learn stuff? Launching an IPO.


Site prominently features citizen journalism although not clear how much traffic it generates. Top-rated story only has 11 views. Topics include world, business, tech. Contributors earn revenue share based on traffic, paid via paypal All work licensed under CC

An observation: Most of the original content is extremely lightly sourced and attributed. In fact, many of the authors aren’t even linking very much. Should one of the questions we’re asking be, what sort of standards are contributors held to? Are any of these sites encouraging users to subscribe to the “principles” of traditional journalism, i.e. attribution, verifiability, etc? Or are those principles framed as outdated and oppressive, associated with evil censoring and arrogant gate-keeping?

Being written:

  • STEP - (non-media nonprofit using online video for activism)
    • todo:Not a traditional case study, nor part of typology, but an example of non-media NGO. We have a 9-minute video produced by KSG class and a paper. Needs filling out, clean-up and tie into whatever our conclusion is about non-profits and new media.


lots of experiments in organization, presentation, new techs that allow this happen (structure, presentation) or getting new authors online; little focus on new way of content production. Anyone using crowdsourcing?

Forums -- Wikis -- Blogs -- "Newspaper sites" (ex MetroMode below, describe this better) ad-hoc, citizen funded

What is linkjournalism?

Is the process of reporting changing?

Just new ways to express themselves and reach the end user?

Include the population size as well publication reach (census + reported stats) to give some perspective. The Off Track video is one ex.

Look at what they're doing in terms of community

    • commercial more/less
    • localized topics?
    • cit journ or social media