Citizen journalism enhancing new media

Last weekend I participated in the Sydney City2Surf. Its been quite a while since I ran this race, so long in fact that the last time I ran with an iPod and a cell phone. Not a iPhone, Smart Phone, iPad or GoPro. My, how things have changed.

I’m not as fit as I used to be so I walked the 14km in the delightful Sydney sunshine and was able to take in my surroundings rather than pound the pavement, my focus zeroed in on beating my best time. While on the walk I took 20 photos, posted four to Instagram, and Facebook, Twittered six times and recorded three Vines. I took a selfie, a photo of the crowd running down xx street, a piccie of the Golden Sheaf as they ‘liked’ one of my Instagram photos and I felt like returning the favour. I took a Vine of the Golden Sheaf, a group of people of the side of the road and some weird smurf like creatures.

As a journalist, there is so much information available to you, you wouldn’t need to actually leave your living room if you wanted to report on this great event. There is so much video and photo content, you could almost get by without actually visiting the event. Of course, to enrich your story, it would be better if you took your own footage and used what you see already posted online to enrich it.

If you can’t see everything, you can by examining other peoples content. This is where I see citizen journalism having a positive impact and further enhancing what professional journalists write about. If I were a sports or health journalist, I would very quickly going to these events, writing and blogging about them, looking to see who is tagging and commenting and start following those people.

We are starting to become very focussed in our appetite of news and only want to engage in what we feel is important to us and is in our circle of interest. Here is my recommendation on how a journalist could use this kind of behaviour to build a fan base and increase their popularity in the media marketplace.

Taking the City2Surf example, you are a journalist who writes about health, fitness and wellbeing. You enter the City2Surf and take your iPhone with you, taking photos and recording sound bites for later writing. You tweet and load up images as you walk and maybe you might have a pit stop in a café and add a quick micro blog update. You could identify others in that café who are also participating in the City2Surf and are also taking a break halfway through. Interview them, get a photo and a name and write about that as part of your article.

As you are walking, search hash tags on Twitter and Instagram, start retweeting, following and commenting on those people. You may be able to start connecting with those people and they might start referring back to your work. You can reference them and they will reference you back. All of a sudden you have two way content, audience interaction and your news will start to travel and gain in popularity.

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