Journalism as social networking: The Australian youdecide project and the 2007 federal election
The increasing prevalence of new media technologies and the rise of citizen journalism have coincided with a crisis in industrial journalism – as the figure of the ‘journalist as hero’ is fading, new media forms have facilitated the production of news content ‘from below’ by citizens and ‘pro-am’ journalists. Participation in an action-research project run during the 2007 Australian federal election, youdecide 2007, allowed the authors to gain first-hand insights into the progress of citizen-led news media in Australia, but also allowed us to develop an account of what the work of facilitating citizen journalism involves. These insights are important to understanding the future of professional journalism and journalism education, as more mainstream media organizations move to accommodate and harness user-created content. The article considers the relevance of citizen journalism projects as forms of R&D for understanding news production and distribution in participatory media cultures, and the importance of grounded case studies for moving beyond normative debates about new media and the future of journalism.