Reader comments: It’s time to make ‘em civil

Have you been watching the Honolulu Civil Beat news experiment? That’s the Hawaii news website edited by John Temple (former editor of the defunct Rocky Mountain News) and financed by Pierre Omidyar (founder of eBay). While I have doubts that its business model (asking $19.99 a month for full access to the news site’s content…

Why I think ‘block level’ news, data is important

Earlier today Howard Weaver tweeted the following, which I can’t answer in 140 characters (!) so I’ll respond here. … “Why do people (@steveouting et al) keep saying ‘block level’ info is best premium opportunity? Seems *most* likely to be citizen generated.” –@howardweaver I don’t recall saying it’s the “best” premium online content opportunity, though…

I really need to update ’11 Layers’ article…

This popped up in my ego filter: Colorado State University adjunct professor of journalism Jeff Browne assigned my old “11 Layers of Citizen Journalism” essay to students in his Online Writing and Journalism class. (It’s been a popular article over the years; I often see it on reading lists.) I wrote that piece in 2005…

Comment threads often contain hidden gems

There’s been plenty of fretting in journalism circles this week about comment threads on news stories. My position: Don’t publish without them, but figure out ways to keep the conversation civil and ban the trolls. The website of my local newspaper, the Boulder Daily Camera, has pretty active comment threads, and, predictably, the more bizarre…

Response to a critic of my hyper-local thinking

My recent Editor & Publisher Online column about hyper-local news websites contained a call for a new model, one that relies on professional journalists working closer with “citizen” (non-journalist) experts more so than being just open to submissions from non-paid community members (aka, “citizen journalists”). I followed that up with a blog item here suggesting…

Citizen reporters and the ‘rules’ of journalism

JD Lasica interviewed NYU’s Jay Rosen in the video below, in which Rosen gives an excellent overview of the Mayhill Fowler dual controversies. Fowler was the “citizen journalist” working for Off The Bus who captured Barack Obama’s “bitter about guns and religion” comment and Bill Clinton cursing out an author. Rosen echoes my own thoughts…

The rules have changed; politicians beware

Fascinating story from NY Times today: “For New Journalists, All Bets, but Not Mikes, Are Off.” The short version is that a “citizen journalist” working for Huffington Post’s Off The Bus was talking to Bill Clinton at a campaign rally, and the ex-prez blurted out some unsavory words thinking that he was just talking to…

Do not give up, dammit!

This bears repeating and spreading around. It’s a quote from Jay Rosen (NYU, Pressthink) that appeared on his Facebook status today: “News people who wonder why their industry gets creamed by Google and Yahoo are the same news people who dismiss an idea after it fails once.” He may be referring to the trashing that…

A smart and low-cost way to cover niches

Please take a look at my latest column for Editor & Publisher Online, posted today: “How to Create Killer Niche Web Sites Without Hiring.” I think the two initiatives I’ve profiled are truly significant innovations that can move the news industry forward. For lack of a better term, Examiner.com’s Examiners program and the Mail &…

The race sponsor’s press corps

In my last business, I got to know Granny Gear Productions, organizer of a series of 24-hour mountain bike races around the US. With my old YourMTB.com website, we worked with race organizer Laird Knight during 2007 and recruited a bunch of “grassroots reporters” — volunteers who were racing — to cover the events and…

Officially gone…

Just got word today that the transaction is complete: My (ex-)business partner and I sold off the websites of our company, the Enthusiast Group, and the money and paperwork came through today. While the company didn’t work out, I’m glad that the websites can live on. Some nice communities formed, so at least we won’t…