Category Archives: citizen journalism

Atlanta Hurricane Chasers


Expectant dad Amani Channel is geared-up and off to SC with his freelance co-hort, Mario. Amani’s wife is not real happy about all this gallivantin’ around, not with her looming due date. (See video.) But what’s a freelance TV-type to do? It’s hurricane season; make hay while the sun shines. You can follow Amani and Mario’s excellent weather-related adventures via Amani’s Tweets on Twitter here. Amani’s live-streaming channel on is here.

Georgia Political Podcast Episode #18




  • Democratic Senate Race Primary
  • Keith Gross/District 80 Wrap-Up
  • Presidential Politics in Georgia
  • Drama in the Georgia Political Blogosphere

Recorded August 16, 2008 at Manuel’s Tavern. Here it is.

OffTheBus In New York Times. Again.


Everyone’s fave citizen journalism political project (Mine included. Heck, I might like OTB even more than that other political project I contribute to. You know, the red one colored peach that smells like a toxic waste dump…) Queen Arianna’s OffTheBus at HuffPo is getting some serious MSM attention… AND contributors by the thousands. From the NYT, 7-23:, the online citizen-journalist arm of the Huffington Post, celebrates its one-year anniversary this month.

Of all the new political, non-candidate sites to spring up during the last year, OTB is now probably the biggest, with 7,500 citizen correspondents. Through its growing pains, it continues to develop the technological and organizational know-how to become a force in journalism even as it challenges the standard notions of traditional journalism.

We have been charting the site’s progress throughout the campaign, with a report in October about its start-up and an interview in April with Mayhill Fowler, the correspondent who gained notoriety after reporting Senator Barack Obama’s “bitter” comments from a closed fund-raiser.

The site has evolved in several different ways. Perhaps most strikingly, OTB’s total of 7,500 citizen correspondents is up from 300 a year ago. Arianna Huffington, who helped found OTB, attributes the dramatic rise to the buzz created by Ms. Fowler’s two big scoops, first the Obama comments, then in early June when Bill Clinton lashed out at a Vanity Fair writer.

The scoops created news and also prompted intense self-reflection among traditional journalists (it’s all about us!). Had Ms. Fowler successfully pushed the envelope for campaign reporting? Or had she so fractured the rules that she set journalism back? Either way, she has become a rainmaker for OTB, the modern-day equivalent of Woodward and Bernstein inspiring hundreds of young cubs to become investigative journalists.

“The numbers started going up with Mayhill, then they accelerated,” Ms. Huffington said. “She became the poster child for ordinary citizens being able to impact the campaign.”

Full story here. My OTB video contributions/work here. Get fired up!!! Contribute yourself to OTB!!!!

Arianna Schedules New Media Domination Appointment


Could it be Drive ‘Ole Dixie Down, Part Deux? Arianna Huffington has moved on Chicago’s local readership. If that is the case, you can bet she’s got Atlanta in her scope too. If so, all local bloggers, citizen journalists, small publishers and small papers, indie and alt media of any kind, will be swallowed-up whole. And your best sources of user-generated (free) content will be the first to go over to the Huff Side. Let alone your best writers. From media consultant John Wilper’s blog:

It’s scary, or it damn well should be. Unlike Craig’s List, she’s telling us in advance that she’s coming (to Chicago), how and when (not where yet, but I wouldn’t wait to find out!).

With her clout and visibility, she may succeed at the aggregation game where others have failed or are struggling. She plans to grab YOUR content and the best local bloggers and citizen journalists — something we should have done long ago. (It’s not too late, but it’s ALMOST too late.)

And she won’t be blowing large amounts of investor money, either. One editor. One reporter. That’s it.

But add all the current and future local bloggers who will be attracted by the opportunity to have the address of: “HuffingtonPost/my name,” and she’ll have critical mass in one hell of a hurry. And those people will be buzzing about HuffPost’s local site rather than your newspaper and its website.

Full blog post here. What are you going to do to keep YOUR Georgia-based eyeballs off the Huffington New Media Plantation? Better come up with some kinda plan. Quick. Aggregate something! Anything! In other words, have you hugged a blogger real nice-like today? Gawd, I can’t wait to see the Huffster put a serious audience hurtin’ on Cox Plantation here. Now that’ my idea of new media spectator sport.

Anyone think I’m messing around… just keep saying those two words that have fatally stricken the most powerful publishers on the planet – Craig’s List. Craig’s List. Craig’s List.

Citizen Journalist for Off The Bus Broke Big Campaign News


Mayhill Fowler, a regular contributor to the Huffington Post’s Off The Bus citizen journalism project, broke some big-time news over the course of the Presidential primary season. From today’s LATimes:

Tim Russert, Katie Couric or Larry King eventually may deliver telling blows of their own, but score Round 1 in the contest to extract the most provocative presidential campaign quotes to . . . Mayhill Fowler?

The 61-year-old self-described “failed writer” and amateur Web journalist helped create two of the most unexpected moments in the 2008 election — most recently on Monday, when she recorded former President Clinton’s fiery denunciation (“slimy,” “dishonest”) of Vanity Fair writer Todd Purdum.

That scoop came six weeks after Fowler rocked the Democratic race for president by reporting (from a “closed press” fundraiser in San Francisco) Barack Obama’s now infamous discussion of “bitter” small-town Americans who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.”

Full story here. Local video contributors to the Off The Bus project include Shelby Highsmith and me.

Traditional Media Apply Traditional Ethics Sparingly With New Media


I see an interesting ethics situation developing… seems “traditional media” is trending to a habit of not properly crediting or acknowledging t…A Poynter Online story about a viral video situation caught my attention not so much for the content of the viral video situation (it’s a good one so be sure to check out the video that sparked all this), but for how the Wall Street Journal just kinda sorta skimmed over the origins of the situation (viral video) altogether and “discovered” the story with little, if any, credit to its viral-i-ness. Reminded me of some crediting, or lackthereof, issues we’ve had right here in the metro Atlanta blogosphere.

Whole situation here, but the graph that initially caught my attention:

On May 27, the (Wall Street) Journal reported on the Bell-Conyers confrontation and its sequel under the headline, “Detroit Politician Gets Lesson in Civility From 13-Year-Old.” The story by Katherine Rosman, in the bottom-page slot for what used to be known as column-three readers, is well-written and well-reported with such nuggets as that Keiara’s proud mom “sells candy in Detroit neighborhoods from the trunk of an old gray Cadillac.” The piece acknowledges the Detroit News but minmizes the cyber virus in favor of a peg on Keiara’s local celebrity.

My response/comment to the Poynter story titled: Local Video Story Makes WSJ Front Page, is pasted-over here:

I see an interesting ethics situation developing… seems “traditional media” is trending to a habit of not properly crediting or acknowledging the genesis of a story IF the story arises from the blogosphere and/or a viral video situation.

Two other examples of this in metro Atlanta recently: a citizen’s video of a young woman verbally assaulting an elderly woman on a commuter (MARTA) train in Atlanta went viral and was discussed extensively and with great passion on local, urban talk radio and in the Atlanta blogosphere for days before being “discovered” by Cox’s WSB-TV. Absolutely no credit was given to the one Atlanta blogger ( who broke plenty of news and info about the situation, now known as the “MARTA Soulja Girl” incident, for two days before local TV news got hold of it. WSB-TV took the weekend off; the blogger did not, and when WSB-TV did bother to report the story it was sloppy and imprecise in comparison to the blogger Sandra Rose.

Another local example of conveniently ignoring and never crediting the source of a story, a story that was national news eventually, was that of the Cobb County, Georgia restaurant owner who sold-out of tee-shirts depicting Obama as Curious George. A local Cobb County Daily Kos contributor brought this situation to media light, without so much as a single credit from ANY broadcast news outlet for having done so.

Shame on these TV “journalists.” It’s something akin to petty thievery. Obviously they are feeling threatened by the ability of news to now be generated, vetted, and disseminated entirely outside the palace walls.

Citizen Journalists Noted In Variety


Variety Magazine notes the use of the Nokia95 together with for live-streaming whatever over the Interwebs. Of course Variety, being Variety, drapes the use of social media in celeb-ridden standards of normacy, but what the hay.

Through use of social media tools, I’ve know both people cited in this article, Steve Garfield and Jim Long, for a while now. Both are longtime in the social media/video kingdom.  From Variety:

When NBC cameraman Jim Long used Qik to webcast a short interview with Bob Geldof while traveling with President Bush, Long wove in a question from one of his viewers. Geldof addressed the questioner by name. “In addition to ‘Meet the Press,’ now we can have ‘Meet the People,’” Long later wrote on his blog.

Full article here. Now if the ACJ, for instance, ever notes how, for instance, Shelby uses the N95 and Qik. One other note, although Jim Long is a staff cameraman for NBC, based out of their DC bureau, he does a ton of indie online media on his own dime/time. Sometimes they all mash-up together, as during his trip to SXSW. But I know him almost exclusively by the big new media footprint he leaves in his gregarious, appealing wake.

Blogger’s Atlanta Press Club Angst


What if a blogger wants to join the Atlanta Press Club? Have they committed enough “real” journalism to qualify for admission? From John at the Dunwoody North Civic Association blog:

Since at least one Georgia politician believes that I have used my site as a public whipping post and therefore need to be more ethical in my news coverage. I reviewed the prices and noted that APC members were free to this event where non-members were asked to pay, because of this I figured it was a great day to register to be a member. Looking at the membership dues of $40.00 for active journalists and $90.00 for non-profit organizations, I figured that this little blog would qualify me for the better rate. After applying, the nice people at the APC didn’t reject me straight out but they wanted to know my qualifications as a journalist, they wanted writing samples of my published works.

Full blog post here, where you can find out what happened to John’s membership request. If I was John, I’d have demanded the latest blog samples of the “nice people” at the Press Club who were judging credentials.