“Citizen journalism site” = splog

I’m not going to link to any offenders, but my consistent observation is that nearly all “citizen journalism” sites fall somewhere between spam blog and crappy community of suckers. If you feel the urge to provide people with a platform to “do” community journalism, don’t. You’re not needed (see below). If you really, really must go ahead, read Evan Prodromou’s seven rules for commercial wikis (which apply to any community site) seven hundred times, then think about it for a long time.

If you feel the need to “do” citizen journalism, stay away from sites that claim they help you “do” citizen journalism. You absolutely do not need them. Instead:

  • Write on your own blog.
  • Write on a site of, by, and for some community (check if they are following the seven rules linked above; it should be obvious).
  • If you want a generic platform, write on .
  • Some reader blogs hosted by established media aren’t that bad, but be careful.

3 Responses

  1. […] = Crap — Group Blog = Good — Wiki News = Good — Commercial Wikis = Good According to our Mike Linksvayer: I’m not going to link to any offenders, but my consistent observation [*] is that nearly all […]

  2. […] Linksvayer says “citizen journalism” sites are a waste of time, given how easy it is to put up one’s own […]

  3. gurdonark says:

    Sometimes a site will say to me “can we use your picture with attribution in our article”? The site will always have some catchy name about media.

    I always say “yes”, as my pictures are pretty much all BY anyway. The net impact is that I visit their site to see my picture. It never makes much difference to me to see my picture on this kind of site, as
    it is one of a bunch of other pictures with the same tag (e.g., “shark”)
    they have located. So if this is “citizen journalism”, then I understand what you are saying.

    I prefer when my BY pictures are used for something fun–like on a
    website for a travel agency, or in an educational project, or in someone’s weblog.

    I agree that the best citizen journalists are, well, mere citizens journaling.

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