School of Hard Knocks

Dan Gillmor passes on lessons about the importance of community building, contributor compensation and reader needs in explaining why he is leaving his experimental Bayosphere news site to focus on the academic side of citizen media. His explanatory posting is worth reading in full, as a courtesy to the guy wrote the We the Media manifesto on grasroots journalism, and more pragmatically to acquire insights that only come from falling short in the act of trying.

I’ll leave you to ponder most those on your own but I was particularly interested to read about his focus on the reader, and the implicit understanding that writers work hard to make things easy to read. In Dan’s words:

“Publishing is about the audience in the end. Most people who come to the site are not participants. They’re looking for the proverbial “clean, well-lighted place” where they can learn or be entertained, or both.”

Flip side of the coin: Writers, news junkies and other political types tend to use citizen journalism to describe the phenomenon of people taking media into their own hands. Marketers, advertisers and business types favor the term “user-generated content” which includes classified listings, family pictures and similar material in addition to creative oeuvres. Poynter’s Steve Outing suggests that a new blog called User Generated, penned by New York ad guy Cory Treffiletti is worth reading if you want to track the moniker that has all the money.

Trade pub ethics: The American Society of Business Publication Editors ( ASBPE) is calling for explicit and publicized ethics policies to make clear that coverage is not for sale. Thanks to Center for Media Research for passing on the item. The Center quotes Roy Harris, a senior editor at CFO Magazine, as saying the new clarity on ethics was called for because of the “new controversy raging over product placement by advertisers and over activities among journalists at reputable news organizations that are questionable at best.” CFO is owned by The Economist.