ONE REASON mainstream news editors relegate commentary from people on the ground is the narrow perspective that often accompanies the views emoted from parish level. That is the same broad brush slapped at bloggers too. Besides, many bloggers often take their lead from mainstream media and merely regurgitate a single point. Consequently, bloggers are not seen as quality sources of information.
Steve Outing has a column that addresses the quality issues of citizen journalism. He discusses ways of getting good quality from citizen contributors. He says, "One issue discussed in the column that's worth pounding on is how many news organizations that are experimenting with citizen journalism segregate such content from the 'real journalism' -- which, in my opinion, is detrimental to quality citizen content being created."
Outing also points to Andrew Nachison, director of The Media Center who wrote about BBC News' use of citizen news submissions into its newscasts and main website (especially around the summer's London subway bombings): "BBC is thinking of participation and collaboration as a modus operandi, a core component of how the BBC gathers and disseminates its reports. If citizen contributions are placed in the kind of blogger ghettos that we've seen (like at MSNBC) the result is going to be pseudo-collaboration, a nod to the riff-raff and no more."
It would be interesting to see an Irish broadsheet offering a rota of Irish bloggers paid guest columnist privileges in a weekly gig. I think it would make interesting reading (read increased sales). I also believe the paper would enjoy better overall journalism.
Steve Outing -- "Citizen-Journalism Ghettos"