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?
Read the rest of this entry
Amanda Michel, Den Mother of the Huffington Post’s 2008 presidential election, groundbreaking citizen journalism project, Off The Bus, takes a moment to thank their contributors here.
I thus took a comment moment to thank Off The Bus for their media vision and leadership. It was an honor and a thrill to have been part of the 2007-2008 political process via Off The Bus. My comment back to Amanda and John and the other wonderful OTB editors is re-pasted here:
Thank you Amanda and John, etc. so much for giving me the opportunity to participate in the political journalism process in innovative and exciting ways that were not open to me elsewhere. Being an OTB contributor has renewed my passion for journalism, taught me new skills, returned me to my MSM roots while allowing me to try new things, and provided a wealth of ideas and concepts I will take with me and share with many as I grow my small media business locally.
It’s been an honor and a pleasure. I like to think I played a small part in these historic media times. OTB made that possible, and inspired me to look for any way I could to get involved in the new political media going on around me over the last year or so.
Plus, doing totally indie, one-woman video packages was just a whole lot of fun! You should see how I can unfold my tripod now with a few flicks of the wrist. Even an old NABET camera-dude would be impressed. Well maybe…
All the best as we all move forward.
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!!!!
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.