Oops, I learned something!

A goof in a recent posting about a newspaper-sponsored citizen journalism site in California ended up pointing me toward a similar experiment in South Carolina, where that region’s largest daily has launched an online forum called TheColumbiaRecord.com.

An article in Newspapers & Technology mentions the South Carolina experiment. It quotes production planning manager Todd Moshier, one of staffers who persuaded the newspaper’s management to launch the online foray, as saying they recruited citizen bloggers by word of mouth:

“We saw that was where our industry was going, and our senior management agreed with us,” Moshier said, citing similar efforts in Bluffton, S.C., and Bakersfield, Calif. “It also provided us with what we thought was a very viable project to tackle.”

The News & Tech piece also discusses how the newspaper decided that:

“To lessen the chance of expensive lawsuits, all content is viewed first by an editor before going live, although bloggers who earn ‘approved’ status can post content without editorial review.”

I should explain the goof that led me to the Carolinas. A few days back I said the Bakersfield site used the iUpload blogging platform, which was correct when the site launched a couple of years ago. But the folks in Bakersfield have since developed some home-grown software, according to an iUpload spokesperson — who then directed me to TheColumbiaRecord.com, which is now using iUpload.

For more about the Carolina experiment, check the Sept. 1, 2005 article in Editor & Publisher by writer Jay DeFoore. Here is a link but it requires a subscription and a password.

Among the Audience is the title of the lead article in a thought-provoking series of stories in the Economist magazine. Correspondent Andreas Kluth encapsulates the scope of the series when he writes:

“This survey will examine the main kinds of new media and their likely long-term effects both on media companies and on society at large. In so doing, it will be careful to heed a warning from Harvard’s Mr (David) Weinberger : “The mainstream media are in a good position to get things wrong.” The observer, after all, is part of the observation—a product of institutional media values even if he tries to apply the new rules of conversation. This points to the very heart of the coming era of participatory media. It must be understood, says Mr Weinberger, “not as a publishing phenomenon but a social phenomenon”.