The use of citizen journalism for hyperlocal news production
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Recherches en communication / Université catholique de Louvain. Faculté des sciences économiques, sociales et politiques. Département de communication [Louvain-la-Neuve] - Louvain-la-Neuve, 1994, currens
, p. 151-164
University of Antwerp
This paper describes the case of the hyperlocal media project of the Belgian newspaper Het Belang van Limburg (1). In 2011 the newspaper launched a platform, called Het Belang van mijn gemeente, which makes use of citizen journalism for the coverage of local community news. The newspaper actively encourages community members (i.e. citizens, local councils and organizations) to contribute stories to the local news pages on the newspapers website. For each municipality in the province of Limburg, a local news page is created where people who have registered themselves as a news hunter can publish their own news stories, pictures and event announcements. All citizen contributions are published next to the professionally made news articles from the newspapers local journalists. Since the professional editorial content and the user-generated news content are not separated but co-exist within the same online news environment, it is interesting to investigate similarities and complementarities between both types of content. The central research question of this paper therefore is to what extent and in which ways contributions by local citizen journalists differ from the professional editorial news content in terms of topic selection and the use of sources.