At the end of the year, Australia will be holding their next round of parliamentary elections. A new initiative called "You Decide 2007" is challenging Australians to become citizen journalists covering the elections, uploading their own reports, photos, audio and video. It looks like the site is splitting the difference between an unfiltered community site and a moderated / editorial control model by offering "Raw" and "Premium" versions of their coverage. Here’s how they describe it:
Want to make your local MP more accountable this election? Tired of election coverage that
ignores your local area and the issues that count? Become a citizen journalist with YouDecide2007… At YouDecide2007 you can submit your own copy straight into the system. Everything that meets legal requirements will
be published in YouDecide Raw, and outstanding articles will be included in YouDecide Premium.
It will be fascinating to see what the differences are between the "Raw" and the "Premium" sites. Will there be slashdot-type community ranking and rating functionalities? Will the citizen journalists scoop the professionals? I will enjoying watching this develop.
You Decide is sponsored by the government-affiliated Australian Research Council, in partnership with SBS,
On Line Opinion, the Brisbane Institute and QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty. How amazing would it be if the American government sponsored a citizen journalism site for the US Presidential elections?
The full site launches in September. You can watch a short video of project manager Jason Wilson describing You Decide, or read a fuller text from Jason about the project after the jump…
You Decide 2007
Funded by the ARC, and with project partners SBS, On Line Opinion and the Brisbane Insitute, the Creative Industries Faculty is conducting a major national research project on the emerging phenomenon of citizen journalism.
The project will produce a range of outcomes, from cutting-edge research to exciting, real-world projects.
The first major initiative of the project is youdecide2007. This is a citizen journalism project which will offer a grassroots, electorate-by-electorate coverage of the 2007 Australian Federal Election. Ordinary Australians will have the opportunity to report on the election from their own, local perspective, in a way that takes local issues into account.
With this promising to be the closest-fought election contest in some time, youdecide2007 will offer a new lens on our national democracy. The broad perspectives offered by mainstream media outlets will be complemented with a coverage that shows how local issues matter to individuals. At the heart of the initiative is a website and an online community which will host reportage and multimedia content covering a range of key, “battleground” seats. The site will offer a diverse range of perspectives on the election, and host both news and opinion content that is generated by the voters.
The election and a surge of interest in citizen journalism means that youdecide2007 will garner national and international attention.
“Anchor” citizen journalists will be sought for key seats, but news and opinion will be welcome from the widest possible base of contributors.
Training and advice will be provided, to help get a broad base of individuals involved in contributing content and the editorial process.
As the project progresses, research articles will be published based on this experience, surveying global developments in citizen journalism, contributing to conferences in this area, and working towards community outreach activities including citizen journalism workshops.
Most importantly, though, we will be generating expertise which we can use to contribute to sustainable citizen journalism projects in the future.