Doing it together : citizen participation in the professional news making process
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
, p. 131-154
This paper looks at how mainstream media are currently reacting to the trend of citizen media. In order to look beyond the hype and high expectations about user generated content, we first try to put the debate on citizen and participatory journalism in context. We argue that the revived interest in participatory journalism is the result of both external developments in society and internal evolutions in journalism. Next, we analyze these developments in four European countries Belgium, Finland, Germany and Spain in order to identify similarities and differences that hint at the (professional, organizational, socio-cultural and economic) factors influencing the evolution of participatory journalism. Data collected suggests that despite of the differences in context, media in any of the four countries tend to develop very limited opportunities for audience participation. The professional culture of journalists is suggested as the main factor preventing the development of participatory projects, while marketing and business strategies somehow push for the exploration of such proposals.