Sunday, February 12, 2006
BLOGS: Seattle newspaper blogger summarizes post mortems on Bayosphere
Posted by Brian Chin at February 10, 2006 9:56 p.m.
Dan Gillmor's Bayosphere's legacy
I was preoccupied with helping out on our Super Bowl coverage last weekend
so I'm only now catching up on what wiser folks than me have been writing
about the failure of Bayosphere. The consensus seems to be that it was a
good idea but poorly executed. While hardly an indictment of citizen
journalism, it is an object lesson in what's needed to making a citJ (or
CJ) effort work.
Tim Porter put it very succinctly:
I see three principles from the Bayosphere experience that are key for
newspapers and other entities that hope to use citizen journalism as part
or all of their business:
Community can't be forced.
Focus is foremost.
Personality is a plus.
Online Journalism Review's Tom Grubisich opines that, although ostensibly
a Bay Area community site, Bayosphere "never came close to living up to
its mission. It was neither of, by nor for the Bay Area":
If there is any general lesson about Bayosphere, it's that citizen
journalism at the community level needs less high-flown rhetoric and more
street-smart testing. The model for what works in content remains to be
finished. Citizen journalism is not a failure. But there needs to be a
more engaged relationship between the proprietors and impresarios of
community sites and their contributors, some of whom are news-gathering
Meanwhile, back on Bayosphere itself, Craig Weiler covers similar ground
in a post asking whether the citizen journalism model itself is viable:
Based on my experience, this is what's needed to succeed:
CJ's need to be seen on the pages most seen by visitors.
CJ's need encouragement and critique by staff.
CJ's need acknowledgement for work above and beyond.
In other words, a successful citizen journalism effort requires lots of
time, patience, outreach, nurturing support, dedication and focus -- just
like any other effort at organizing a community.
· Return to Bayosphere's legacy