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Citizen Journalist or information source: an exploratory study of public’s role in participatory journalism within the main Brazilian web portals. Profa. Dra. Elizabeth Saad Corrêa – Francisco Madureira – The study.

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Citizen Journalist or information source: an exploratory study of public’s role in participatory journalism within the main Brazilian web portals

Profa. Dra. Elizabeth Saad Corrêa –

Francisco Madureira –

the study
The study
  • At the beginnings of 2006: major Brazilian Internet portals released channels for its users participation as news providers.
  • To analyze this scenario we present preliminary data about the status of participatory journalism initiatives undertaken by the main portals of the Brazilian web.
  • Our main assumption is that the major portals in the country have not still been able to adopt participatory journalism in depht and breadth of the experience reported by the original participatory concept.
brazilian scenario
Brazilian Scenario
  • A strong concentration of information in digital environments originally created to access the web - the so called portals
  • Portal news:
    • Traffic atractor
    • Sources: international agencies feed, proprietary newsrooms and connection to a journalistic traditional brand
  • Web use in Brazil shows, as studies conducted by Ibope / NetRatings, that, primarily, the users get information through the portals, to then browse on newspapers websites
  • The reader's engagement on information production is difficult.
    • Genneraly, the vehicles use the material sent by internet users as a source of information;
    • The news processing is performed by professional journalists responsible for websites, a practice that tends to discourage the "old reader" to become the protagonist of news process, or making this a conversation

Top 10 Search Engines / Portals And Communities

Pageviews and Unique Audience, Feb. 2009

main concepts
Main concepts
  • Cultural Studies
    • Reception
    • Social media phenomenon
  • Participatory Journalism
    • Dan Gillmor, Bowman & Willis, Bruns, Brambilla
    • the action of a citizen or group of citizens who have an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analysis and dissemination of news and information
  • New media studies
methodological procedures
Methodological procedures
  • Main hypothesis
    • the major portals in the country have failed to adopt participatory journalism in the depth and breadth of international experience reported by other authors
  • Exploratory field study, content analysis
  • The sample – Brazilian Portals
    • Audience
    • Specific area to display forms of UGC
      • Terra portal – VC Reporter
      • portal – VC no G1
      • UOL and iG out of sampling criteria
  • Observation and collection participatory journalism pages from these portals during the period of March, 1st/2009 to March,15th/2009
  • 163 published materials were collected and analysed.
content analysis categories
Content analysis categories
  • Editorial area
  • Content localization – hyper localism
  • Level of user’s engagement:
    • Simple flagrant
    • Source quotation
    • Use of multimedia: photos, videos, audio
  • Narrative aspects
editorial area
Editorial area
  • 105 stories related to metro news (daily events)
  • 32 stories related to culture and entertainment (higher focus on concerts)
  • 12 stories related to sports (as a local event)
hyper localism
Hyper localism
  • 93% of stories covered events that took place in the physical surroundings of citizen reporters
flagrant x news construction
Flagrant x news construction
  • 56% (92 stories) were not identified as mere striking of reality
  • 44% (71 stories) of the published material were identifies as flagrant
    • a simple record of an event in photo or video, without contextual information, or check with official sources of data and / or witnesses, case of
narrative aspects
Narrative aspects
  • 51% (83) of stories with no citation of any source.
  • In 34% (55) of the cases, only one source of information is mentioned - in some cases, the source is the individual citizen reporter, paradoxical practice for the purpose of participatory journalism that will be addressed forward.
  • In 14% (23) cases two sources are mentioned, and in only two subjects, or 1% of cases are cited three or more sources.
differences between portals
Differences between portals
  • Portal Terra: 35% (27) of stories were considered a mere flagrant
    • Good mix: the work of the citizen reporter to the journalist contribution
  • Portal Globo:75% (44) is characterized as flagrant
    • Newsroom enrichment of news before publishing
  • Snapshot journalist
    • The newsroom practice is to quote, sometines, the citizen reporter information
    • The citizen reporter does not develop activities of investigation, but believes that being at relevant events, book them soon either by pictures or videos, and refers them with small essays on the major portals
  • Citizen’s news are an additional channel for receiving information as well as a single source or of the advisory press
  • Credibility: possible presence of commercial and marketing content in the mainstream news
final remarks
Final remarks
  • The participatory journalism in Brazil would not arouse the reader's engagement with the production of information - much less the vehicles show this concern, to use the material sent by Internet users as mere starting point for a process of investigation.
  • Assigning the channels of UGC evaluated in the main Brazilian portals as the label of citizen journalism becomes dangerous, especially within the theoretical frame of reference outlined by Bruns
  • Brazilian web users that are involved in these services the title of citizen reporter in conceptualization of Bowman and Willis, as practice involves a former "reader" as the protagonist of news process, not only as adjuvant.
final remarks14
Final remarks
  • Further discussion for the study progress:
    • the degree of editorial intervention exercised by the portal, partly weakened the concept of citizen journalism;
    • the effects on the portal brand credibility facing the collaborative content which it provides;
    • the characterization of "news" within a space of participatory journalism and how this concept should reflect the characteristics of traditional news process, and
    • differentiated characterization in between citizen journalists and the "citizen-source" that seems to emerge that study.
  • Inclusion, as a comparative data, of the well succeeded independent initiatives
    • Independent Media Center
    • Brazil Wiki
    • Garapa
    • Overmundo