As many American newspapers and news agencies close down news desks scattered strategically around the world, citizen journalism is filling the gap. By offering local journalists and concerned citizens a platform from which to offer their perspectives on local and global events, coverage of world news is showing signs of life again.
Recently, AllVoices, a user-generated news platform that collects, validates and distributes news from around the world, announced that it was launching global news desks in 30 different cities around the world, where both professional and citizen journalists will provide regular in-country reports from the ground.
A Call to Action
Since launching in 2009, Allvoices has attracted more than four million unique visitors a month and a vast world-wide community of contributors. Now, from Beijing to Baghdad, citizen reporters will be able to receive assignments from professional journalists.
Each city, country and continent has its own individual landing pages from which Allvoices' algorithm tags, ranks and sorts news based on a global, regional, country and city pages to determine what is breaking news and popular.
Citizen Contributions, Checks & Balances
Once a registered user, AllVoices allows anyone to contribute blog posts, images, videos and other observations on local and global news. Once a report appears on Allvoices, other members can continue to add context by commenting, writing related reports or adding more media.
Regular contributors can develop a fan base, where members can send private messages, and subscribe to individual RSS feeds.
An example of how a user-generated story evolves on the AllVoices site.
What stands out from other citizen journalism sites is that AllVoices filters for spam, polices the site, fact checks each user report for credibility and assigns a credibility rating to each news report. The site also lets users file reports from their cell phone via MMS and SMS, which is helpful in countries where computer usage is low but mobile device usage is high.
Giving the World a Voice
AllVoices believes that everyone has a story to tell, and that one voice can ignite a global conversation. As a result, they aim to provide a 360 degree view of reported news that also offers a dynamic and multimedia view of what’s happening in the world. Of course fulfilling that goal takes money. AllVoices recently raised US$ 3 million in funding enabling it to open several news desks.
With the face of traditional news media changing, AllVoices is helping to sustain a new model of web publishing that not only engages citizen journalism but also helps to uphold standards of journalism excellence.