So where are all these citizen journalists? We can help you find them.
One of I,Reporter’s biggest and most exciting projects in recent months has been our ongoing work for the newly launched Knight Citizen News Network website, KCNN.org. The task set for us by Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab at the University of Maryland, was to build a searchable database of hundreds of sites around the country that offer citizen journalism.
With many hours of searching, hundreds of e-mailed survey requests and the collaboration of Lisa Williams (H2OTown and Placeblogger.com) and Dan Gillmor (Center for Citizen Media), we assembled an initial collection of more than 450 sites from all 50 states. The database provides a description of each site. The advanced search function allows users to find sites by several criteria, such as the year the site was founded, its business model, whether it employs paid staff or professional journalists, and whether it offers training for contributors.
We also used a talented Boulder, Colo.-based web developer, Justin Crawford, to create a nice Google Map interface to the database, so users can easily zoom in and find sites geographically. Try it out. Explore the KCNN citizen journalism database.
Also for the KCNN project, we created a package of “Things We Like” featurettes – brief writeups and screen grabs of especially effective or unusual aspects of some of the citizen journalism projects sites we identified. There are two dozen of these so far, and we expect to add another three dozen in the coming year.
Did we miss your favorite citizen journalism project? We’re still expanding this database. In fact, we expect to add 400 more listing in the next year. E-mail us to tell us about other sites to include.
Want to feature this database on your site? We’re developing a “widget” for the map interface, which will allow people to search this database from your site. Let us know if you’d like to use the widget, and we’ll notify you once it’s available.