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Where To Get Heard

A guide to online citizen journalism


Ohmynews--The first global online newspaper to rely on free citizen reporting. Founded in South Korea in 2000, but with reader-contributed news from around the globe. According to the Web site, the 55-person staff wrangles over 41,000 reporters.

Wikinews--An inevitable "free content" development by Wikimedia, the foundation responsible for the collaborative online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Readers at 20 language-specific sites can "fix" stories, add content or just add to the polyphony of comments. The Wikis have begun publishing a daily print edition of Wikinews, regular audio news briefs and are even planning to launch the Wikinews Network (WNN), where anyone would be able to create, edit and submit their own audio and video news files. Whether Wiki is the greatest invention in human history or the dawn of The Borg is anybody's guess--but it's certainly gotten to the "scarily cool" stage.

Indymedia--Essentially Wikinews with a prominent social conscience (which gets it in plenty of trouble). Publish your take on news, discuss or critique other people's takes, or volunteer to act on the news at an indymedia center (the nearest one is in Portland).

NowPublic--A Vancouver-based company that claims to be "harnessing the wisdom of crowds." The site is heavy on photos and videos, but also heavy on distraction, conspiracies and weak content. A fun place to lose time, but not yet to the level of Wikinews or Indymedia.

J-Lab--The University of Maryland's online Institute for Interactive Journalism is a wealth of information, resources and even money. They give grants to citizen journalism projects, both rural and urban, and have supported Radio Free Moscow.

Northwest Voice--A paper in Bakersfield, California that exemplifies "hyper-local" citizen journalism. An unbearable read, but only because it's not about you.

NewWest--As close as Boise comes to online citizen reporting. This "network of online communities" offers regularly updated news and columns from around the Intermountain West, and allows readers to contribute stories to "unfiltered" news forums. Good unfiltered work, the site says, might lead to a reward of "filtered" work. Last check, there were no articles in Boise's forum.

--Nicholas Collias