Guardian launches Citizen Journalism platform: Guardian Witness

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Guardian Witness

Joanna Geary:

The GuardianWitness platform, and supporting iPhone and Android apps will help us to carry on this tradition. It will allow you to tell your story – by desktop or mobile – by submitting pictures, videos and text to journalists directly from an assignment.

It also has its own site, which allows you to submit and browse news, opinions and creations submitted to those assignments.

If your submission is picked up by a journalist it could go on to be featured across the Guardian – in print and online – which means you can help set the news agenda and become part of the Guardian’s award-winning journalism.

Guardian Witness is part of their Open Journalism initiative, of course, which is itself just a branded version of the idea of networked journalism.

But it does seem to offer a method of smoothing the journey from an isolated act of citizen journalism to that act being part of an orchestrated piece of journalism conducted by a journalist. Is it needed? Aren’t people more likely to contribute via their own social presences? I suspect that this experiment will tell us one way or another.

Update: there’s an obligatory “tinkly music” app demo video that startups have made de rigeur

Update 2: Graham has a good point:

Really, really not sure about this. Assignments? For ‘citizen journalists’??… – via @foodiesarah
— Graham Holliday (@noodlepie) April 16, 2013

Yes, this does feel very much like a 2006/2007 “come, create user generated content on our site” effort. But there are good people that I respect involved in this effort – I’d be interested to hear from them how this differs from that…

Update 3: Graham has articulated this further on his own blog.

Update 4: And now we know the commercial relationship with EE at work, thanks to Joanna speaking at Shift 2013:

EE coming up with one commercial assignment a month on Guardian Witness the rest editorially independent #shift2013
— nicnewman (@nicnewman) April 16, 2013

Update 5: Joanna has some interesting hints in her response:

@adders Lots more to come. BUT I think the big thing is the integration into the production and journalistic process.This isn’t a bolt on.
— Joanna Geary (@GuardianJoanna) April 16, 2013

citizen journalismjoanna gearynetworked journalismThe Guardian

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.