From iReport to Ureport. Major broadcasters in USA proposing citizen journalism trough the net.
The success of many internet-based sites and services like weblogging, social networking and some participation-based websites like YouTube has inspired the creation of new applications within the news websites of the main broadcasting companies worldwide that enable the citizens to actively participate in the production of the news. These applications work at the same time as an information source for the news editors and as a participation tool for the audience. Following the concept introduced by Bowman and Willis (2003), we could argue that indeed, these new websites encourage people to engage in participatory journalism. Authors like Dan Gillmor (2004) have studied the appearance and success of weblogs, videoblogs and other online applications that have made the theories of Negroponte (1995) or Schudson (1995) come true. Cases like Ohmynews.com, which has become the most influential news web in South Korea based in news sent in by citizens, have shown the traditional news companies that the success of these new ways of information created by citizen is possible. Lately, many traditional media outlets have included news and content sent by their audience on their websites (Lasica, 2003). For instance, the main American broadcasters have developed online applications that give the opportunity to any citizen in the world to send in videos, photos, news or articles. The aim of my research is to analyse the applications based on audience collaboration that are offered at the news websites, especially in Europe and USA and their influence not only on the audience, but also on the communication professionals themselves. The most fundamental question is: Is this the end of traditional journalism? Will everybody be able to work as a journalist? Many authors (Real et al., 2007) have taken up this topic. My approach includes research on the power imbalances, the usages and the practices related to participatory tools, combined with an investigation into the (potentially changing) role of accuracy in the journalistic processes.