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  • I'm CEO of Newspeg.com, a social news-sharing platform. I've spent 20 years at the intersection of traditional and digital journalism. I've helped to invent ways to read and interact with the news and advertising on computer screens and iPads, and before that, I wrote news stories on typewriters and six-ply paper. I co-founded WashingtonPost.com and hyperlocal pioneers Backfence.com and GrowthSpur; served as editor of Philly.com; taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland; and have done product-development and strategy consulting for all sorts of media and Internet companies. You can read more about me here.

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« Bill Gates and the Death of Print | Main | Betting on the Future »

May 11, 2007



As a kind of citizen journalist myself, I generally agree with your sentiments. We're a Pasadena blog that commented on this story yesterday (our comments got picked up by a number of local and national blogs). For a citizen journalist and Pasadenan take on this whole affair, check us out:



I'm a Pasadena blogger, too, and I've met Macpherson a couple of times and have emailed with him about what he's doing at Pasadena Now, and I can't speak for him, but I feel pretty intrigued by what he's doing. I think part of the problem is that there may not be anybody in the blogging/citizen journalist community who wants the job of going to all of the city council meetings and filing reports. I don't want to myself! I think these writers from India could be good for Pasadena Now and for Pasadena. They're not replacing any existing writers, they're being added to the reporting mix.


Reporting, copy-editing aided by technology being done remotely: this is a 'trend' that Friedman talked about extensively in his book (World is Flat).. so I wonder what's really 'news' here?


But Mohan, you may remember another reporter who covered events remotely. Name of Jayson Blair. Why bother leaving they apartment?

Mark's right. Whether it's a council meeting or an inteview with a police spokesman or a victim after a serious crime, you can't beat being there, talking with key figures and getting a real feel for the story.

Now, Mark. On citizen journalism. I doubt very much that you could get reliable, non-biased citizens who would vigilantly attend every council meeting for the purpose of reporting...and not get paid.

Haven't you found that out with Backfence?

Mark Potts

We've found on Backfence that people who are passionate about their community are happy to write about it without compensation. They have other motivations. You also seem to be assuming that there would be some sort of a single beat citizen reporter who would cover every council meeting. While that's possible, it's more likely that coverage would come from multiple local residents, depending on their time and interest. It's not an ideal solution--but it's better than trying to cover something from thousands of miles away.

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