Is “gatewatching” enough?

This week I researched and wrote some content for our chocolate website. Maggie commissioned me to write a review of Haigh’s Chocolate in Block Arcade. I really enjoyed the entire process of interviewing the store manager, jotting down lots of observations and (duh) tasting the delicious chocolate. Sitting down to write the story was more challenging since I found I the story leaning more towards a plain description rather than a critical review. Tomorrow I should receive the edited version back. It’ll be interesting to hear Maggie’s feedback.

Of all of this week’s readings, I especially liked Dr. Axel Brun’s “Gatewatching, not gatekeeping: Collaborative online news”. I thought that it brought up some interesting points about the value, but also the problems, surrounding open source websites featuring “produser”-created web content. Axel Bruns mentions such problematic issues as plagiarism, content ownership and republishing. However, I think that he forgot to mention these sites’ susceptibility for charges of defamation and contempt of court that could arise as a result of poor journalistic practices. If there is no formal editing of the articles (except for the rating systems, of course), this means that anyone could write whatever untrue, misinformed or misleading they wish. I think that some form of gatekeeping is important in order to ensure responsible journalism.

Since Brun’s article was written six years ago, I thought I’d look for more up-to-date discussion of this topic. I found that Brun contributes to two blogs. The first is Snurb, his personal blog which acts as an outlet for his observations concerning media and communications. It also serves as advertising for his new book Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage which seems to carry on this discussion of produsers further. The other blog that he contributes to is which discusses research surrounding citizen journalism.

Following this vein of citizen journalism, I found an interesting post this week by Brian Ward of Fitzroyalty, the site I’m following this semester. It’s called Melbourne Leader lies about me and breaches my copyright. Basically, a reporter from Melbourne Leader asked for a copy of a picture taken by the blogger. She wanted to write a story on the same topic he blogged about: the eyesore of the Salvos in Abbotsford which often seems to serve as a dumping ground for unwanted stuff. Brian Ward agreed to give Melbourne Leader the picture so long as it was attributed to himself and his website. Although the newspaper promised to do so, it never published the attribution, nor did it later offer an apology for the misprint after a formal complaint was lodged. Understandably, the blogger is furious and is taking the matter up with the Australian Press Council, which I highly commend. I think that citizen journalism needs more people like Ward ready to fight for respect in and by the media world.

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