Article summary: Neil Thurman

In Honours blog on April 27, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Neil Thurman, “Forums for citizen journalists? Adoption of user generated content initiatives by online news media.” City University, UK, 2008

This article looks at the online response of news websites to citizen journalists and online contributors. It explores the feasibility, methods and success of user-generated comments on news websites.

An interesting article that explains the difficulties in moderating comments. And explains some of the reasons why, for the UK at least, some news websites have been so slow at taking up user contributions.

Here are some of the key points:

“…there is no doubt that those who have traditionally consumed news are increasingly ready and willing to produce content.” (pg. 140)

The results from a survey undertaken by the author revealed there are “seven major formats for participation: ‘Polls’, ‘Have your says’, ‘Chat rooms’, ‘Q&As’, ‘Blogs with comments enabled’, ‘Pre-moderated message boards’, and ‘Post-moderated message boards’.” (pg. 140)

“…non-professionally produced content challenges journalism’s professional norms.” (pg 144)

“…most online editors seek out content that has a broad appeal. The niche audiences reached by most bloggers are very different.” (pg. 144)

“…the emphasis blogs typically give to the personality of the writer- the messenger rather than the message- may have contributed to their slow adoption by mainstream news sites.” (pg 146)

“The fear if action from libelous comments posted on unmoderated used forums was an important contingent factor explaining the sometimes-wary attitude to user-generated content initiatives at some of the sites studied.” (pg. 150)

Overall an interesting article with some useful insights into mass medias uptake of user-generated content.



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