A must-read white paper on the future of public media authored by Jessica Clark and Pat Aufderheide of American University's Center for Social Media notes that citizen journalism, "blooming, often with a broad transnational focus," has emerged as a catalyst of "conversations among engaged publics."
"[P]ropelled initially by individual enthusiasm [citizen journalism] has found either foundation funding or advertising or both," the white paper notes.
The white paper lists nine trends which "demonstrate a widespread, cross-sector interest in developing and sustaining high-quality public media in the networked environment."
Exciting experiments in public media 2.0 are already happening:World Without Oil
The Independent Television Service (ITVS), part of public broadcasting, attracted almost 2,000 gamers from 40-plus countries to its World Without Oil (http://worldwithoutoil.org), a multiplayer “alternative reality” game. Participants submitted reactions to an eight-month energy crisis via privately owned social media sites, such as YouTube and Flickr—and made corresponding real-life changes, chronicled at the WWO Lives blog (http://wwolives.wordpress.com).
The Mobile Report
The Media Focus on Africa Foundation worked with the Arid Lands Information network to equip citizen reporters in Kenya with mobile phones. . . . (http://mfoa.africanews.com/site/page/mobile_report).
10 Questions Presidential Forum
Independent bloggers worked with the New York Times editorial board and MSNBC to develop and promote the 10 Questions Presidential Forum (http://www.10questions.com/). . . .
During the United Nations Climate Change Conferences in Bali and Poznan, a news network of nonprofits, OneWorld, connected delegates and participants to reporters and advocates around the world via Second Life, an online 3-D virtual world. . . .
Facing the Mortgage Crisis
As the mortgage crisis hit home in every community, St. Louis public broadcasting station KETC launched Facing the Mortgage Crisis (http://stlmortgagecrisis.wordpress.com), a multiplatform project designed to help publics grappling with mortgage foreclosures. . . .
Multiplatforming and engagement as a matter of course . . . For example, An Inconvenient Truth was in theaters, is available on DVD, and has a companion book. Related downloads include widgets for bloggers, posters, desktop images of changing weather patterns, screensavers, electronic greeting cards, and a teacher’s guide. This trend is driving multiplatform training in journalism schools. Media projects are planned with the engagement of publics as a core feature.Find the whole deal here.
Data-intensive visual reporting . . . Highly visual and information-rich sites, such as Everyblock (http://chicago.everyblock.com/) and MapLight (http://www.maplight.org/), demonstrate how information can be culled from a variety of online sources and combined to reveal trends and stories via interactive, user-friendly interfaces [which Micah Sifry of the Personal Democracy Forum calls “3-D” content (Dynamic, Data Driven)]. . . .
Niche online communities . . . [Virtual communities] may be based on a combination of identity and politics—such as Feministing (http://www.feministing.com), which targets young female readers through pop culture analysis, or Jack and Jill Politics, which describes itself as “a black bourgeoisie perspective on U.S. politics” (http://www.jackandjillpolitics.com/). . .
Crowdsourced translation . . . Projects such as dotSUB (http://dotsub.com) harness volunteer energy to translate public-minded content so that it can travel across national and linguistic boundaries. . .
Decoupling of public media content from outlets . . . Nonprofit projects, such as ProPublica (http://www.propublica.org) and the Center for Public Integrity (http://www.publicintegrity.org), underwrite investigative reporting that can be placed in print or broadcast contexts but also lives online on the projects’ sites. . .
New toolsets for government transparency . . . Open online access to government documents and data now offers raw material for both legacy and citizen media efforts. Open Congress (http://www.opencongress.org) invites users to view and comment on bills, track congressional votes, and follow hot issues. . .
Mobile public media . . . Projects such as The People’s 311 (http://peoples311.com/) in New York demonstrate how mobile citizen media creation can coalesce into ongoing public media: participants are encouraged to post photos of broken sidewalks, damaged fire hydrants, and other urban blight, supplementing reports to the city’s free 311 phone service.
Pro-am storytelling . . . Filmmakers such as Deborah Scranton of The War Tapes and Anders Østergaard of Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country have based their films on footage shot by amateur contributors in high-pressure situations. . . .
Peer-to-peer public media training . . . Networks of media outlets, such as OneWorld (http://us.oneworld.net), the Integrated Media Association (http://www.integratedmedia.org/home.cfm), New America Media (http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/), and The Media Consortium (http://www.themediaconsortium.org/), working together to share and assess strategies for producing effective, public-minded content for the digital, participatory environment. . . .
Also read: A sustainable model emerges
And: 3G technology promises more power to citizen journalists
And: Journalism comes full circle