Monday, June 05, 2006

OhMyNews syndicates with IHT

One of the more significant announcements recently was this past week's that South Korea's citizen-journalism operation OhMyNews will provide a feed of its stories to the International HeraldTribune and that OMN will carry Herald Tribune stories.

Is this a breakthrough for citizen-journalism? Maybe, but with some caveats. OMN is pretty unusual. It springs from a rather homogeneous, technologically advanced country where the existing news media were largely considered by the public to be "house organs" for the government or just plain ineffectual. As such, OMN, which says it has 40,000 contributors, may be the best "newsfeed" coming out of South Korea.

It also is a rather unusual mix of staff stories, staff editing of citizen contributions and those citizen contributions themselves. (Few U.S. sites, for instance, are editing their cit-j contributions because of federal law that actually gives them less liability if they leave hands off. For an excellent summary, see Amanda Martin's column in the April North Carolina Press Association bulletin (PDF).)

Still, when a major international paper says it will incorporate feeds from a citizen journalism site, it sets one to wondering whether this might be duplicated elsewhere. What about those areas in this country that currently fall between the cracks of mainstream media? That was the idea behind the Forum in Deerfield, N.H., one of the J-lab sponsored projects, and it was the idea behind Westportnow, Baristanet, H2otown and a number of other sites.

It seems likely we will see more of this. For instance, in Madison, Wis., the local paper already is picking up weekly summaries from the Madison Commons project.

Some additional stories on the OMN/IHT deal:
The Guardian
Editor and Publisher


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