Giraffes at Work?

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Hearst newspapers tapping citizen journalists

It was reported this week that Hearst Newspapers would start carrying content from the citizen journalist website Helium.  Lincoln Millstein, senior VP for digital media at Hearst, said in a statement that this would help reduce costs:  “Sourcing Helium’s top-notch writers will allow us to continue to deliver superior local and lifestyle content to our readers while also taking the necessary steps to get our costs in line with today’s economic realities.”

This story made me think back to an earlier interview I did with Michael Tippett of NowPublic, another citizen journalist website.  NowPublic was

Medpedia to go live today

The announcement that Medpedia, a Wikipedia-style medical resource, is going live this week (read today's NYT article), made me think about Jimmy Wales.  Medpedia is not affiliated with Wales' Wikipedia (it's associated with Harvard Medical School and Stanford School of Medicine, among others), and, unlike Wikipedia, only PhDs or Physicians can edit it.  Others can suggest changes that have to be ok'd by the editors.  A few years back, in interview with the Media Giraffe Project, Wales talked about the possibility of an open medical resource.  He said that it would pose different

Four online-news "giraffes" receive Knight grants

Four "giraffes" recently recieved Knight Foundation grants.  The total amount given was $390,000, and the money was awarded to the community news websites to increase local coverage and staff.  In their press release, the Knight Foundation said they wanted "to help find new, sustainable models for delivering news and information in the digital age."

Here are the four recipitants (click to go to their MGP profiles):

TypePad's Journalist Bailout Program

For anyone who has missed it, in mid-November, Six Apart's Anil Dash announced a Journalist Bailout Program--it was meant to be snarky, but also genuine. They would give out-of-work journalists a free TypePad blog and free enrollment in their advertising program. On the 18th, he wrote that what was meant for a few friends created an overwhelming reponse--the quirky announcement struck a chord with people, perhaps because it offered a positive (if small) solution.

As a follow-up, MGP just added a video of a 2005 interview with Six Apart's Mena Trott to our archives (see her profile here):

To play video, click play button in lower left corner.

Just released: recommendations for Obama on government transparency

A collaboration of over 240 groups and individuals have just released "Moving Toward a 21st Century Right-To-Know-Agenda:  Recommendations to President-elect Obama and Congress."  The 98-page document (read it here) lists ways for the Obama administration to create a more transparent government.  

The report warns, "We are rapidly shifting from a society based on the public's right to know to one premised on the need to know, where the government determines the need."  The writing of the report was overseen by OMB watch, which is housed with  Media Giraffe prospect Patrice McDermott is director of, and chaired the panel responsible for writing the chapter, "Creating a Government Environment for Transparency."  We interviewed her about the process of getting the report to Obama.  You can read the article here.

A new book on citizen journalism

Media Giraffe Prospect Jack Driscoll just released a new how-to on citizen journalism:  Couch Potatoes Sprout:  The Rise of Online Community Journalism

"An intimate, inside look at the internal workings of three pioneering publications—that started in 1996, 1998 and 2003—reflects the satisfaction and energizing effect of being able to publish widely without the benefit of a printing press."    

We interviewed him yesterday about the book.

An Election Protection Wiki

In time for the election, this report from MGP/JTM alumni news about Giraffe prospect John Stauber:

John Stauber's Center for Media and Democracy said today it had launched a new wiki web site as a "non-partisan, non-profit collaboration of citizens, activists and researchers to build a one-stop-shop for reports of voter suppression and the systemic threats to election integrity."

AUDIO: Laid-off Kenosha, Wis., reporter seeks advice on starting non-profit online news community

 Denise Lockwood is like thousands of U.S. daily newspaper reporters -- she fell victim to staff reductions. But she's not giving up reporting -- she's pursuing her passion online.

AUDIO: Knight offer talk by "News Challenge" winners; 3,000 applications received

More than 20 winners of a total of $5 million in first-year grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation told their stories briefly as the Online News Association annual meeting got underway on Wednesday (Oct. 17) in Toronto. Some 3,000 applications for the next round of grants were received this week. READ MORE with audio / READ STORY

WINNERS: Media Giraffe participants/prospects fare well in Knight News Challenge grants

Twelve Media Giraffe "prospects" or participants in MGP events were among 34 winners announced today in the "Knight Brothers 21st Century News Challenge," a multi-year effort by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to foster news innovation which improves geographic communities. (CLICK HEADLINE FOR DETAILS)
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