On “You Witness News” by Reuters + Yahoo

5th Dec 2006:

Korea has done it with OhMyNews.com
China has done it with molive.cn
Singapore has done it with Stomp
CNN has done it with I-Reports
And now Reuters and Yahoo are going in full force with You Witness News

It doesn’t really have a catchy name (also, think ___tube), but its yet another media conglomerate’s way of saying “we get it” to citizen journalism. All this is like taking the Wikipedia model and turning it real-time with moderation by “expert” media gatekeepers. As usual, all you need is a cameraphone and some sense of what people consider as newsworthy.

I’ve talked about this before in a news interview and during my lecture on collective intelligence in organizations, but can anyone guess what’s coming after this?

Here are three trends I’m predicting:
1. Critical News: It remains to be seen whether critical news makes it online in news agency controlled spaces. I refer to the tendency that low-brow news (safe) tends to be found in abundance on such sites, but we see very little high-brow news (critical) when news agencies moderate user submissions. Compare the content on Singapore’s Stomp.com.sg with the English version of OhMyNews.com to see the stark difference. This should evolve soon enough.

2. Crowdsourcing: At what point do citizens journalists get “returns” from the commercial dollars earned by these media corporations? I think good citizen reporters will be discovered and bought out.

3. Mobile communities: Why bother with news agencies? Why not setup a grassroots-level citizen news network like Korea’s highly successful OhMyNews.com model where “every citizen is a reporter”? We already see them in the form of topical blogs (e.g. engadget, kotaku), where news is fragmented on various popular blogs, rather than collected and organized on one site.

Read more about “You Witness News” on New York Times and see what other bloggers make of it.

  • numbermetal

    crowdsouring: Exactly, if the big companies want me to work for them, they better be paying me… not necessary in $.