Wikinews, the sister citizen journalism project of Wikipedia, has started an, “Interview of the Month,” which hosts original online chats with “people involved with current events.” This month, the interview comes via Brazil (January 11, Wednesday, at 15:00 UTC, 13:00 local time in Brasília):
Ricardo Serran Lobo is a Brazilian blogger who began writing about his famous neighbor: the politician Roberto Jefferson, head of the Brazilian Labor Party in the Brazilian Congress of Deputies. Jefferson has become a major figure in the ongoing Brazilian mensalão scandal revolving around corruption and bribery.
Vizinho do Jefferson  quickly became very popular among Brazilians, describing the routine of Jefferson, while providing information about politics and fresh news about the scandal. Lobo’s blog got third place in the Best Of Blogs contest run by Deutsche Welle International.
All interviews happen in the #Wikinews channel on the Freenode IRC server. If that’s gibberish to you, just click here to chat via the Web. See the main page for more details or to post questions and issues.
Wikinews contributor Amgine described the interviews as a way to, “enhance cross-language collaboration among the wikis to produce original reporting.”
“It’s also designed to allow outsiders (bloggers) to have the opportunity to participate in interviews with (we hope) newsmakers who might not otherwise be available to them. In short, the citizen journalist/bloggers equivalent of the press club.”
While Wikinews has had its share of criticism, this is one area that shows tremendous promise as a virtual and global meeting place for thoughtful journalistic discussion. Even when it’s not holding an interview, the IRC channel is a great place for citizen journalists to gather.
Andrew Lih is assistant professor of journalism at the University of Hong Kong.