As we work to build the Center for Citizen Media in coming weeks and months, we envision three basic missions. They are:
- Research, Analysis, Advocacy: Working in-house and in collaboration with others, we will do or commission original research into some of the key questions surrounding citizen media, such as its impact on public knowledge and opinion. We must also understand the genre’s future, and will highlight factors that could either help or deter its development; these include financial sustainability, legal issues and international adoption. Simultaneously, we will speak out on the need for responsible citizen media and its value in a democracy.
- Best Practices and Tools: We’ll catalog the people and organizations working in the citizens’ media sphere, and highlight their work on our Web site, flagging what look like the best for special attention. We’ll identify the technological tools that people will be using in creating tomorrow’s journalism and other media, in part by working with technologists to help them add appropriate features. These tools, too, will be highlighted online, again with special attention to the ones that appear to work best. The website will also become a test bed (or playground) for trying out various methods.
- Education, Training, Consulting: We’ll work with people at all levels of citizen journalism — citizens who want to participate in the process; media professionals who want to use these technologies and want to work with citizens; companies that need to understand what is happening; and others.
We hope this site will be a place where people discuss ideas, techniques, tools and more. What you know is considerably more than what we know, and we need to help each other learn.
First, we won’t be the only people doing such work, and are anxious to collaborate with others. Without your ideas, and your help, we won’t get nearly as much done as we’d like.
Second, we are not the Center OF Citizen Media — that’s an oxymoron in an increasingly decentralized media ecosystem. We are a Center FOR Citizen Media. There is a world of difference.