18 March 2008

“Limited Prospects” For UGC

User-generated content (UGC) may not play a central role in the future of journalism, claims a new study.

The Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) review suggests that, contrary to previously held assumptions in some quarters, news stories written by readers are likely to play only a limited role in the digital age.

According to the organisation’s annual report, opportunities for user interaction such as comments and photo-sharing sections are the most promising areas of citizen participation.

However, it contends that news articles written by users have “proven less valuable” due to a lack of new news or information that can be verified.

“The prospects for user-created content, once thought possibly central to the next era of journalism, for now appear more limited, even among ‘citizen’ sites and blogs,” states the study.

“And the skepticism is not restricted to the traditional mainstream media or ‘MSM’.”

According to the State of the News Media 2008 report, research into citizen media websites “finds most of these sites do not let outsiders do more than comment on the site’s own material, the same as most traditional news sites.

“Few allow the posting of news, information, community events or even letters to the editors.”

It concludes: “In short, rather than rejecting the ‘gatekeeper’ role of traditional journalism, citizen journalists and bloggers appear for now to be recreating it in other places.”

More information about the PEJ can be found here.

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