Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forSeptember 7th, 2004 | back to home

7 September 2004

Not only is Kansas one of the few US states to “try to teach creationism alongside evolution”:http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/news/state/9342070.htm in science classes, now it is being taken to court because a gay teenager is in prison for 17 years for an offense which would have earned a heterosexual 15 months jail time.

Wired News reports, ‘A small California newspaper has undertaken a first-of-its-kind experiment in participatory journalism in which nearly all the content published in a regularly updated online edition and a weekly print edition is submitted by community members. It’s all free.’

“The Northwest Voice”:http://www.northwestvoice.com/default.asp’s experiment seems like a good idea on the face of it (and the creators give a good account of their reasons at “Open Source Journalism”:http://www.opensourcejournalism.org/) but I fear newspaper groups could be tempted to fire all or almost all their journalists and rely on citizen contributors for a lot of small papers. The trouble with this approach is that ‘ordinary citizens’ may not have an interest in doing any investigation into complex issues or underlying causes of problems (or if they do they may only do so because they have a particular axe to grind). Let’s hope instead that this kind of citizen journalism frees up staff journalists to do a better job on that kind of reporting (and let’s face it there isn’t enough of that going on at the moment).