Tools for citizen journalism
Tools for citizen journalism enable people other than traditional mass media professionals to gather, edit and share information through internet and other low-cost publishing systems.
- Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-dissidents, published by Reporters Without Borders, September 2005, offers advice on how to start a blog, and get it picked up by search engines, along with ethical guidelines and recommmendations for the best tool to use, as well as information on how to blog anonymously and technical ways to get around censorship.
- How to Blog is a weblog devoted to sharing blogging tips and tricks, theme and plugin info and blogging software reviews.
- Into the Blogosphere provides scholarly analysis of "discursive, visual, social, and other communicative features of weblogs."
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation maintains a "Legal Guide for Bloggers" which offers information about legal issues related to intellectual property (copyrights), defamation (libel), privacy, access to public records, election and labor law, and obscenity issues.
- The Hartsville Today community journalism project (South Carolina) has produced a "cook book" with advice for startup citizen journalism projects.
Blog hosting services
The following services offer online hosting of blogs. Users do not need any additional tools beyond a standard web browser.
- Blogger, owned by Google, is a free online service that hosts millions of blogs. It is easy to set up and use through a standard web browser, but its features are rather limited.
- LiveJournal offers free online blog hosting, plus an additional for-pay service of $2/month for users who want additional storage space for photos and audio.
The following tools can be installed and used as part of a paid web hosting service.
- "Getting Started with Blogging Software," IdealWare.org (free registration required).
Blog search engines
- Technorati offer timely searching of blog postings in multiple languages.
Content management systems
Content management systems have more features than blogging tools. For example, they may enable multiple individuals to post content under separate bylines, or include features such as a calendar of events, collaborative editing and ranking of articles, discussion forums, and built-in multimedia capabilities. Some content management systems are also "modular": they are designed so that people with a bit of programming knowledge can add new features to the core system.
- Elliot Smith, "A review of open source content management systems," OpenAdvantage, May 2005.
- Barry Parr, "Top 10 Free and Cheap Content Management Systems," MediaSavvy, May 29, 2004.
- OpenSourceCMS hosts demo versions of dozens of content management systems that you can try and compare online.
- Demotix Demotix is a space for independent photographers and citizen-journalists to share their news images and license them to the global media.
- SpyMedia offers an assignment service for photographers in the United States.
- Open source CMScontent management system.
- Flickr lets you upload your photos and view photos that other people have uploaded. Photos can be tagged using a folksonomy classification system that makes it easy to find and group photos by topic. Flickr also provides an Application Programming Interface (API) that lets third-programmers write their own programs for presenting public Flickr data (including photos and tags) on their own websites.
- GIMP, free software image editing program similar to Photoshop
- Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. The Audacity website includes tutorials explaining how to do common tasks. The NewsForge website also has a another tutorial offering more technical details.
- AudioActivism.org has a series of tutorials explaining how to add audio to your website:
- Everyzing (formerly Podzinger) is a search engine that lets you search the internet for keywords in spoken audio podcasts.
- Tribal Shout is a free, mobile platform for recording audio blogs from any cellphone.
- YouTube allows people to upload video for free.
- Blip TV lets people upload video and also store it permanently for posterity at the Internet Archive.
- EngageMedia - focussed on social/environmental issues in the Asia-Pacific
- iamnews tool for crowdsourcing of news. Enabling publishers to solicit submissions from journalists, bloggers and photographers―videos, photos, links, notes, and full articles.
- Newscribe allows people to discover and collaborate over news that matters. Be part of a community of citizen journalists doing story reviews.
- Socrata Free data platform. Allows easy creation of filters, visualizations and maps, as well as API access and one click download of standard file types such as csv or xls. Social Data Player is embeddable in websites or blogs, and can contain data tables, charts or maps created from data set.
- PBwiki (Peanut Butter Wiki). See the PBwiki Tour. "You can make your own free private or public wiki in just a few seconds."
- CNN has created a CNN Exchange page where people submit video, photos, quotes and commentary for broadcast consideration. If accepted, the submissions are aired with contributors' bylines as “iReports” on CNN, CNN Pipeline, CNN Radio, and CNN International.
- MSNBC accepts submissions from citizen journalists on its Citizen Journalists Report page.