Citizen Media: Fad or the Future of News?

The rise and prospects of hyperlocal journalism >>
Our key takeaways:

  • Citizen media is emerging as a form of bridge media, linking traditional media with forms civic participation.
  • No one size fits all; there are many models.
  • Instead of being comprehensive sources of news, sites are forming as fusions of news and schmooze.
  • Most citizen sites don’t use traditional metrics - unique visitors, page views or revenues - to measure their success.
  • Success is often defined as impact on their community.
  • Half of our respondents said their sites don’t need to make money to continue.
  • Yet there are new kinds of media companies starting to emerge.
  • There is a high degree of optimism that citizen news sites are here to stay.
  • Finding ways to attract more contributors and some operating support are major challenges.
>>Table of Contents

Introduction by Jan Schaffer

Chapter 1: The Big Picture
Chapter Introduction
About the Study
Hyperlocal Diversity
Defining Citizen Media
Common Characteristics
Having Impact

Chapter 2: Mapping Citizen Media Models
Chapter Introduction
Community Cooperatives
Trained Citizen Journalist Sites
Professional Journalist Non-profit Sites
Professional Journalist For-profit Sites
Blog Aggregator Sites
Syndicated Multi-site Models
Legacy Media Sites
Solo Enterprise Non-profit Sites
Solo Enterprise For-profit Sites

Chapter 3: Creating Content
Chapter Introduction
To Edit or Not
Mission Statements
Getting Back What You Put Out
Reverse Publishing: From Web to Print

Chapter 4: Building Interest
Chapter Introduction
Starting Out
Offering Feedback
Expanding Coverage
Assigning the Job
Building on Brands

Chapter 5: Making Money
Chapter Introduction
Bluffton Today
Wicked Local
New West
Village Soup
Voice of San Diego

Chapter 6: Charting Success, Sustainability
Chapter Introduction
Community Sites
New Media Companies
Old Media Companies
Wish Lists

Who Participated in 31 In-depth Interviews?
Who Participated in the Survey?