Live Blogging: Rough Draft Workshop

السبت 02 آب 2008

7iber’s first workshop on citizen media “Rough Draft” took off an hour ago, and the discussions are getting more interesting by the minute.

Participants from different backgrounds introduced themselves as managers, students, bloggers, volunteers and others all with a common interest in blogging and citizen media. They came to know more about citizen media and journalism and share their new and exciting ideas with the rest of the world.

Session I: Citizen Media and Journalism

I. Intro to Citizen Media

What is a blog?

Blog example: jordanwatch.com

Anyone can generate and share media-content.

Lina Ejeilat from 7iber.com talked about how blogs work, styling your own blog and the most famous global and regional blog services and a step by step demonstration to creating blog posts.

A lot of examples were given of well-known blogs world-wide such as the engadget.com and huffingtonpost.com.

How to attract and maintain readers?

Submit your blog to popular local and global aggregators such as Jordanblogs.com and itoot.net. increased readership means extra value to your blog, and the more you get linked to by other Websites and blogs, the more popular you are. in blogging terms, your blog has more authority than other blogs with less “blog reaction”. Try it yourself, enter a blog’s URL (any blog) on Technorati.com and see how many blog reactions you’ll get! now, try entering the same URL in Alexa.com and see how many blog reactions you get.

Commenting on other people’s blogs helps expose your blog to different kinds of people. when you leave your blog’s URL (link) in an interesting comment, chances are, readers will follow you to your personal blog out of curiosity and interest in your writings.

Lina continued to talk about Bridge blogging giving globalvoicesonline.org as a clear example of bringing bloggers’ voices from all over the world together to talk about a single topic.

Blogging as a form of activism is becoming increasingly (even if slowly) popular in our region especially where Manal and Alaa’ live. a few years earlier, no one expected to see political facebook groups created by Arabs in the Arab world. Nowadays, young Arabs are utilizing the internet to send political and social messages and voice their protest.

Some blogs become so successful that they get book deals. An Iraqi blog (Baghdad Burning) is a good example of that.

II. Five Definitions of Citizen Media

Our Mariam Adas shared with everyone 5 different definitions of citizen media. in total, the different definitions gave citizen media the following characteristics:

– citizen media is when people share news with each other and inform each other of news and happenings

– citizen media investigates news

– citizen media is when people use online tools to report local events – news worthy or not

The four groups of participants tried to come up with a definition for citizen media agreeing on that it does not follow the same laws applied to traditional media and that it’s characterized by: freedom of expression and reporting of news. However, participants could not agree on credibility as a principle of citizen media. Groups also tried to answer the following thought-provoking questions:

What do you feel is missing in local main stream media?

What is journalism? what makes journalism credible/reliable? what makes journalism believable?

What is citizen media? how does it differ from traditional media?

What are the skills required to conduct citizen journalistic investigation? how do you present the findings?

III. Looking at Citizen Media

The previous questions brought up the topic of independent media versus media businesses and the dilemma of generating money from journalism, how it affects credibility, and how it is essential for full-time journalists to have monetary support.

Anonymous blogging was another hot topic that seemed to be on everyone’s mind today. the social impact of anonymity on credibility and trust. despite the drawbacks of anonymous blogging, the question of objectivity and how names shouldn’t matter when the idea is what’s being discussed. in the Arab region, people are still afraid of revealing their identities. how legitimate is this fear is another question.

IV. Impact of Blogs: Real Life Examples

who sane’s story (can citizen media in Jordan become a catalyst for change?)

Sabri Hakim’s blog on CNN: video shot by blogger Sabri Hakim at the time of the tragic Amman explosions.