Citizen Journalism Sites Complement Newspapers

[May 26, 2010]

A recent study in the Newspaper Research Journal found that citizen journalism sites differ significantly from Web site supported by newspapers. As a result, most citizen journalism sites serve as complements rather than substitutes for commercial news Web sites.

The content analysis of the sites by researchers at Michigan State University, the University of Missouri, and the University of North Carolina studied the content at 86 citizen blog sites, 53 citizen news sites, and 63 daily newspaper sites. Citizen news sites were those that produced news articles similar to those found on newspaper sites, and citizen blogs were opinion sites.

Newspaper sites in the study were more likely to have contact information, a wide range of electronic distribution technology and more interactive elements than were citizen journalism sites. Daily newspaper sites allowed more uploading opportunities than did citizen blog sites, but not more than citizen news sites.

Of the 137 citizen journalism sites, 24% had not posted any material within a month of the downloading for the study.

The study, which was financed with grants from the Knight and Pew foundations, examined the design and features of the sites rather than the nature of the content.

Contact: Stephen Lacy e-mail: slacy@msu.edu.

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