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collaborative citizen journalism (CCJ)

Collaborative citizen journalism (CCJ), a concept made possible by the Internet and the advent of blogging, is the pooling of research and reporting by volunteers to develop journalistic news stories or to critically examine existing ones, especially stories from the mainstream media. Participants in collaborative journalism usually see themselves as complementing and supplementing the regular media and, in some cases, holding mainstream media up for scrutiny. Unlike regular journalism with its publishing deadlines and the determination to deliver "complete" stories, collaborative journalists using blogs can develop or examine a story one piece at a time, often updating a developing story each day. The participating citizens can also debate, question, and further develop their own findings in an ongoing way.

In one view, there are three types of collaborative citizen journalism: (1) broad-area news; (2) local or regional news; and (3) analytical reporting and "news vetting" of traditional media. Besides independence of thought, collaborative citizen journalism is said to potentially offer expertise not available to the wider-ranging traditional media.

Some sites that demonstrate collaborative citizen journalism in action include: OhMyNews (a Korean Web site); WikiNews; BackFence.com (two cities in Virginia); and Bayosphere (a Bay Area-centered site San Francisco). A site called Newstrust plans to offer a way for the Internet user to selectively identify trusted news sources (some of which might include collaborative blogs). Challenges facing collaborative citizen journalism and, for that matter, any collaborative or commented content include making the content easy to find and making it easy to read. Several sites are working on the delivery of collaborative stories using RSS, the service that lets Internet users get selected news pushed to them as it is developed.

This was last updated in July 2006

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