Journalists and scholars have talked on and off about the idea of journalism as a conversation for nearly 20 years. It stands in contrast to decades of traditional journalism as a lecture, in which the all-knowing journalist alone decides what is news and conducts a monologue with the public on such matters, or maybe a dialogue with public officials and other elites. Citizens here are at best passive bystanders. But no more.
Now pretty much anyone with Internet access and a few Web tools can create and distribute news, collaborate with professional journalists in real time and select what news to follow, if any, from a dizzying array of choices. The media business and academia were slow to pick up on the change but are now taking heed. Curiously, little empirical research developed to help us understand what exactly we mean by conversation and then how to apply it to journalism's most treasured values, credibility and expertise.
Until now. This presentation explores key practical tips from doctoral research on how best to incorporate citizen audiences into online media processes. Doing it haphazardly can mean loss of perceived credibility, authority and just plain likeability. Doing it well, however, can create the kind of sustained interest we all crave for our sites.
11th–15th March 2011