Voluntary Standards in Civic Media?

From the present events unfurling in Iran and the Mumbai atrocity of November 2008 , to a local coffee shop being vandalised in a seaside town – civic media is proving that it does have a vital and relevant role in the delivery of robust journalism. We just have to get organised better.

It has always astounded me that the professional news industry has, on the whole, shunned the very idea that people can contribute to the news gathering and sharing agenda. This “head in the sand” and ever so slightly arrogant attitude is both damaging and elitist.

However, it goes without saying that whatever collaborative models are inevitably created, they must strive for quality. And by that I don’t mean every single story has to be a Pulitzer winner (just take a look through your local rag and you’ll see that’s hardly the case right now).

No. I mean those who are exploring civic media – from the professionals to the amateurs – should organise themselves and work together to  question the idea of an industry-wide voluntary code of conduct.

We at indiconews.com believe there should be an open discussion about this – in fact we have started discussion on our site and call for journalists, academics, competitors, established news organisations and people to contribute – to share their views, ideas and relevant experience.

David Cohen’s recent post on MediaShift Idea Lab touches upon a similar development in the tightening of editorial standards on similar sites such as indiconews.com, interviewing Rachel Stern of citizen journalism site Groundreport.

As opportunities for collaboration emerge, the pro-am model of news gathering and dissemination must be explored and scrutinised.

So please add your voice to the debate – either at David Cohen’s blog or at indiconews.com.

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