Two new reports about citizen media have been released recently, both with a focus on local sites. Citizen Media: Fad or the Future of News? The rise and prospects of hyperlocal journalism was released by J-Lab. The report by Jan Schaffer consolidates and analyzes responses from 191 people involved with or familiar with online citizen media, including 31 operators of citizen media sites.
Also enabled by J-Lab and the Knight Foundation via their New Voices program is a new “cook book” sharing the experiences of the first year of community site Hartsville Today. The site was started by Douglas J. Fisher, a journalism instructor at the University of South Carolina and Graham Osteen, Publisher of The Hartsville Messenger. The report, entitled Hartsville Today: The first year of a small-town citizen journalism site, documents in detail the steps they took, from deciding on a web site domain name to training staff. This will be an excellent guide to any group interested in setting up a citizen media site or encouraging citizen participation in an existing site.
(Disclosure: the Knight Foundation, which works with and funds several J-Lab projects, including the Knight Citizen News Network, also provided funding for our Principles of Citizen Journalism project).