Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of citizen journalism and The Huffington Post and The Huffington Post’s citizen journalism project, OffTheBus. I’m a user and a cheerleader and a content creator for plenty of time-consuming, life-sucking, rather tiring citizen journalism initiatives. I won’t bore you with the details or the self-congratulatory remarks. You can read about them here. Or here.
But Arianna Huffington and Jay Rosen, bless their visionary hearts, are now, or soon will be, accepting awards for OffTheBus right and left (see Arianna’s thank-you letter to her OffTheBus contributors at the jump or here); however, OffTheBus is a grossly flawed business model… because it doesn’t pay the contributors.
Thus, I sure hope no one is considering adopting such a model as a business. Not seriously at least. As something else maybe, but not as a viable business model.
Creating cool, headline-grabbing platforms to harvest the collective mindset is not new media; it is new media slavery. And I for one will not continue to give away my content or my services for free. I’ll go further to say that any media outlet thinking they’re going to cash-in by soliciting totally free journo-content from Joe Public will be gravely and financially disappointed. (Hear that iReport?)
The increasingly techno-sophisticated masses will soon get very restless for cash for their labors. The people who give enough of a shit to actually pick-up a camera and go out and commit citizen journalism give enough of a shit to soon become pro’sumer grade in their work. Then pro even. Better plan to pay ’em. Lest you’ll be stuck with freebie, amateur crap that an increasingly media-sophisticated public will soon become very restless with – and reject.
AllVoices, another citizen journalism platform, does pay their contributors. Now which would YOU choose?
Everyone’s fave pundit, Thomas Friedman, says that conservative white men are liars. (Ya don’t say?) That they went into the private parts of the voting booth and checked the box for Obama… after telling their cronies all along at the country club Men’s Grill, presumably over a rare steak and a scotch-rocks, that they were, of course dude, for McCain.
That buried deep in their lying, tiny, twisted hearts, the motivation that they “wanted to honor their kids” prompted them to suddenly morph to Spike Lee upon walking in the door of their local voter precinct.
Bit of a stretch, eh? Especially when you know what conservative white men are really like deep down, but Friedman even brands this lying white men phenomenon “the buffet effect.” (As opposed to the Bradley effect, of course.)
You can decide for yourself in the video here, which I must say is pure pundit nirvana: Huffington, Hitchens, Friedman… all together for your punditry pleasurin’ at the BBC on election night.
As the scoffing cynic, I must note with a vague wave of some Blanche Dubois hankie to fairness, that my right-of-Buchanan, Citadel-bred dad did scour all of Cobb County, Georgia (High Newt Country) for hours yesterday, the day after our history-making election on Tuesday, trying to find just one extra newspaper. Not for himself, but for me.
Queen Arianna is dead-on to call for Obama to release his “righteous rage” on America. It’s the campaign’s only hope before it heads into a Kerry-esque gutter. From today’s Huffington Post:
Given Obama’s sense of moral obligation and social responsibility, and his “audacity of hope,” I felt “the man and the moment may be made for each other.”
Now, as the crises facing our country intensify, and the campaign McCain is running becomes sleazier and more trivial, it’s time for Obama to unleash his inner Atticus — or at least the key element of Finch that Obama seems reluctant to embrace: righteous rage.
Full column here. Help us righteous rage. You’re our only hope. Help us righteous rage. You’re our only hope. Help us righteous rage. You’re our only hope. Help us righteous rage. You’re our only hope. You get the point…
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:
OffTheBus.net, 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!!!!
With a sweeping staff cut, the AJC has iced-out daily print news coverage of life in Gwinnett County. Seems nothing’s terribly interesting out there. And whatever there is, it’s certainly not impacting the bottom line. Given last night’s MARTA referendum, maybe Gwinnettians should just build a moat and a drawbridge now. And oh yeah, get a few blogs going. You’re gonna need ‘em out there in the ‘burbs. Now more than ever.
And if you haven’t had enough BS with your morning coffee, read this funny memo from AJC publisher, John Mellott. Funny because Mellott neglects to mention the biggest phenom that’s tanked newspaper advertising nationwide: Craig’s List.
A few key blogs in Gwinnett, and hey, even the AJC’s Editor, Julia Wallace, might have to curtail churning out her special brand of bs-laden memo too. You can read yet another prime specimen of her notes ‘o arrogance here. No one does corporate spin like that gal Julia!
Paging Arianna. ATL primed for online local news showdown at the lagging Marietta Street corral.
UPDATE: OMG! Stop the presses! (Ooops, they’ve already done that.) Alert the media then. Julia Wallace has been sighted commenting on a blog. I swear to God this is true. With full transparency too, albeit it IS an AJC-generated blog. Pigs are surely flyin’ overhead in Dixie now. Scroll comments here to see for yourself.
Of course, every time I hear/see/read Arianna in HuffPo, YouTube, MSM, a blog, wherever (she is everywhere of course)… I always gotta wonder, since those Cox suits love to issue memos and internal emails in which they invariably declare that they’re going to rule the digital environs, AJC 2.0 and other such proclamations, then when are we going to see/hear/read their ideas and imprimatur in the blogosphere?
Funny, I’ve yet to even see even the tiniest little wee blog comment attributed to a Cox suit. Anywhere! Maybe I’m missing something, but since that’s doubtful, I hope they don’t find the digital environs completely dominated by e-mavens and mavericks such as Ms. Huffington when they DO choose to make their grand e-presence known.
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.