Compiled by Graham Holliday
Backfence is creating a group of community sites. Currently these are based in Virginia and Maryland in the US. Members can post comments, share photos, read local news, place classified ads, publicise events, find local businesses and share tips. It features items such as the next PTA meeting and reviews of upcoming plays and films. Backfence is free for users and visitors and is supported by advertising, Yellow Pages and classifieds. Registered users can post classifieds for free.
Launched in April 2005, Bluffton Today is a community website that accompanies the Bluffton Today newspaper in South Carolina.According to the website: "This is a place where you take the lead in telling your own story. As a registered BlufftonToday.com user, you get your own weblog, your own photo gallery, and the ability to post entries in special databases such as events and recipes." It has over 2,000 members, 70 per cent of whom are women.
Freelance journalist Chris Gosling runs this broadband TV news service from the Suffolk town of Felixstowe. It is one of the first examples of a hyper-local citizen journalism news site in the UK. Felixstowe has a population of 25,000 and the site now has an audience of 32,000 unique visitors per month, which includes some expats.
This San Francisco start-up is "a breaking news forum and a forerunner of a new kind of news journalism, where everyone can participate in current events". Articles are written and submitted by members of the public on any current affairs topic. Writers and readers rate each other’s stories. Through a system of recommendations the community decides which stories make the front page.
London by London
This site has almost 15,000 members — nearly all Londoners. Members "share information and advice about the capital through a weekly email magazine". It’s free to join, although there is an optional £10 per year premium membership, which offers extra benefits. The community spawned a book, London by London: The Insiders’ Guide, which is now in its second edition. With thousands of users adding their say, it’s fast becoming the cult guide to London.
NowPublic is produced by a Vancouver-based company. NowPublic CEO Michael Tippet says the site has "just under 10,000 contributors and between 1.5 and three million visitors per month". It uses text, audio, video and photographs submitted by members. According to the website: "Through this process, NowPublic combines the power of news readers, bloggers, photographers and writers to create fast, open-source news coverage of the most important stories emerging anywhere in the world".
The Korean citizen journalism site was founded in 2000. It has 40-plus traditional reporters and editors and around 41,000 citizen reporters worldwide. It receives about two million page views per month. It is bilingual (Korean and English) and contributors earn a small amount from their submissions. Founder Oh Yeon Ho has plans to expand, and he recently announced that Softbank has invested $11m to set up an OhmyNews service in Japan.
This is a global community site that is "dedicated to spreading grassroots creativity: videos, audio, photos, text and other works of personal media". It promises to store all information on servers for free forever. The website says: "We want to enable people anywhere in the world to tap into this rich repository of media and create image albums, movie and music jukeboxes and more". Ourmedia was founded by Marc Canter, who is the co-founder of Macromedia, and JD Lasica, an editor with the Online Journalism Review.