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January 26, 2006
Dispersed Community = Little Citizens Journalism?
Amy Gahran is mulling over one possible reason for why Dan Gillmor's Bayosphere citizens journalism startup couldn't get any traction: "the lack of awareness of the Bay Area as a community."
It's an intriguing notion. If it's true, wouldn't it be a hurdle for citizens journalism projects in rapidly growing exurbs that are sprawling all over the U.S.? I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone and then moved to cities--the dense, mixed use cities with streets you walk down, allowing everyone to watch everyone, as Jane Jacobs said. So, it makes some sense to me. But maybe there are pockets of communities that develop within these broad communities?
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Citizen journalism might be able to help fixed-location news organizations like newspapers extend their reach into the geographic communities they cover, but the real opportunity for citizen journalism and other forms of grassroots media is in virtual communities, especially those formed, shaped and policed by their own members not outside organizations.
I have more about this on First Draft.
Posted by: Tim Porter at January 26, 2006 11:40 AM
Thanks for mentioning my article, Heather. Tim, I look forward to reading your article.
One model I find intriguing is what Yourhub.com, a spinoff from the Rocky Mountain News, is doing to create a central, replicable infrastructure to support both small geographic communities (towns or neighborhoods) and tie them together in a regionally meaningful way. And they bring print into the mix, too.
I think they're onto something.
- Amy Gahran
Posted by: Amy Gahran at January 26, 2006 03:45 PM