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Citizen journalism and technology

One of my favorite blogs for staying up to date on interesting developments in new media is Poynter’s E-media Tidbits group blog. I’ve been struck the past few weeks by how much the content on the blog is now about citizen journalism. The convergence between new developments in technology and “grassroots journalism” as former tech columnist Dan Gillmor illustrated in his book, “We the media” is really interesting.

Early television production started out in local homemade studios, but gradually centralized on the coasts in just a few large corporations. For awhile, some were concerned that the Web might follow a similar trajectory, getting increasingly more technical. But in fact, the opposite seems to be occurring. Accessible tools are becoming more user friendly, and publishing and managing content is getting simpler with each new generation of software.

The rise of new media technology and the development of citizen/ grassroots/open-source journalism appear to be converging in interesting ways. Maybe it’s a confluence of an enabling technology that, by itself, wouldn’t be so successful if there wasn’t a parallel need for more participatory, engaged, open and accessible journalism. Did one lead to the other?

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