Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Citizen Journalism is spreading. Huffington Post + UStream sign a deal for democracy. And plenty of cash. Plus, just in, Gotye isn't dead.

No I haven't lost my mind. This is Gotye and apart from being a truly amazing song that I've come across in ages, it'll make sense when you read on. Honest Guv.

The news is changing and in fact yesterday's blog about Murdochs changes in splitting up News Corp, signifies that. But now we have citizen journalism.
Equally I blogged last week about Peepol.tv http://streamabout.blogspot.ie/2012/06/peepoltv-gets-funding-to-start-citizen.html
Now we have the announcement of The Huffington Post (second favoured Twitter newsfeed) teaming up with U Stream, to bring you citizen journalism. A bit of a misnomer because journalists they're not, but citizens they are.
Citizen journalism is now going to be the next wave as to how we consume news. Have no doubts about it. The concept of publishers with "on staff" journalists is changing. I note Pete Cashmore's comments on selling Mashable when he said he had 23 journalists but only "knew" 3. He meant that the others were remote and just filed copy.
Simply, everyone has a mobile phone and smartphones allow for easy transfer of pictures and video files. So if something is happening near you right now, it's easy for you to send it back to a publisher.
This Huff Post/U Stream deal is exclusive between them and will allow this "on the street" journalism to reach over 37 million monthly readers (comscore April 2012). It's pretty signficant but whilst cloaked in the language of "free society" and the "democracy" of news, make no bones about it, it will generate revenue through pre-roll advertising. 
If The Huff Post has 37 million uniques (visitors), its page impressions have to be 300m+. At 20 euro a thousand cpm, that's a lot of bread. 
Starting focus will of course be the Presidential US elections called "off the bus" and viewing will be dominated by mobile (it gets a mention everywhere these days!).
They'll also be running competitions to find out "journalist of the year" and so on, to encourage citizens to take part - but they won't be short of content - as well as training.
"Citizen journalism is increasingly democratizing the Internet with live Ustream news events playing an important role," said Brad Hunstable, CEO and co-founder of Ustream. "Our partnership with Huffington Post will further push forward this trend and or mission to enable anyone, anywhere to share their stories. By combining Huffington Post's world-class news reporting with Ustream's live video citizen journalism, viewers everywhere will now have a raw and unedited perspective of diverse voices on the world's most important events."
Indeed. And it will also generate lots of democracy cash.
The technology is done by way of an App making streaming instant and easy. Because the film is streamed back, phone confiscation by police won't matter either.
So this is the brave new world of Social journalism.
A competitor to online traditional publishing.
And in some ways, a step forward for digital media. However, there's dangers here too as The Mitt Romney image illustrates. Will The Huff Post shape democracy by being on one side? 
Now back to Gotye. Read this from Web Pro News, the other side of citizen journalism.
You can’t believe everything you see on the interwebs. That goes double for anything you see on a breaking news site that allows average Joes to post stories without the intervening hand of….well, anyone.

So, despite what you may have seen on Twitter, 32-year-old singer Wouter De Backer, better known as Gotye, is alive and well. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a victim. Gotye is a victim of the latest fake news generated/social media powered celebrity death hoax.
The story read that Gotye shot himself:
The story first popped up on CNN’s citizen journalism site iReport, which allows anyone and everyone to upload photos, videos, etc. without any sort of screening and fact-checking. Of course, the purpose of iReport is to give people a venue for breaking news from their own backyard – an interesting idea in theory. But, as you can see, if one “citizen journalist” goes rogue and starts a death rumor – it can spread pretty fast, partly because everyone sees the CNN logo and immediately gives the story more credibility.

At 4:32 AM EST, it was reported that Gotye had shot himself in the head with a 9mm handgun. He was pronounced dead at 4:45 AM, and the investigation concluded that the cause of death was suicide. It was confirmed shortly after by family and friends. He was quickly taken to the Central Montmorency Hospital, but died from his injuries shortly after. His family has stated that they plan a closed funeral.

Gotye took to Twitter to refute the rumor:



The fact that celebrities are having to actually come out on Facebook and Twitter and tell the world that they actually aren’t dead is a testament to just how fast these death hoaxes can spread on social media. And they are becoming so prevalent these days that as a celeb, you’re just not cool unless Twitter has killed you.
The “CNN” tag on this story made it particularly potent, virally speaking. As always, the advice for social media users is simply this: double check before you share.