“ITV News falls into the citizen journalism trap”

says Paul Bradshow on the Online Journalism Blog, and well, he’s right:As the Guardian announced (free registration required), ITV News will “allow members of the public to post video clips on the Uploaded website via mobile phone or webcam, responding to a daily “debate of the day” set by ITV News.”

I guess they think that’s what citizen journalism means.

But as Paul points out, it’s pretty much a farce:

Yep, it’s the old ‘charitable gesture’ approach to citizen journalism. ITV choose the topic, choose the responses, and, by the sounds of things, even choose the correspondents (”a national network of citizen correspondents,” says the article, which also mentions 100 people who have “signed up”).


So here’s my suggestion: Stop recycling old formats for new media. Stop treating the audience’s contribution like an ‘And Finally’ section. Start understanding how interactivity works: it’s about giving control to the user. Giving control over subject matter. Giving control over time. Giving control over ranking. I’m not suggesting getting rid of editorial roles entirely, but if you’re going to do something like this, for God’s sake do it properly.

Yup, it may be hip for news outlets to pick up citizen journalism. (An editor told me just the other day that blogs are also very hip for newspapers. What else is hip?) But yeah, please do it right. Don’t try to just capitalize on your contributors, treat them with the respect they deserve.

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