In country after country, people are trying fascinating experiments in citizen media. One of the pleasures of visiting other places is learning about some of them.
At a conference where I spoke today in El Escorial, a town northwest of Madrid, I learned about Bottup, a citizen journalism site that, from the sound of it, is doing all the right things. The site, which runs on the open-source Joomla content management software, has a clean look and feel. I don’t know nearly enough Spanish to weigh the overall journalistic quality of the articles, but as founder Pau Llop explained things, there’s plenty to recommend it.
He described an editorial process that includes training for citizen journalists and serious work with the contributors and their articles. This is the kind of due diligence that will in the end make for better journalism.
Llop and his colleagues — and their contributors — have been doing this as a labor of love, so far. Site visits haven’t been huge, and revenues essentially nonexistent. (He joked today that he’s lost five kilos in the past few months.)
They want to pay their contributors, but will need to build a business. I hope they succeed. We need more of this kind of thing, everywhere.
I’m also impressed with the Periodismo Ciudadano site that is aggregating all kinds of citizen-media ideas and coverage for the Spanish-speaking world. Some great ideas there, though the tag cloud at the top is almost too big; it tends to obscure the other material more than it probably should.