Monthly Archives: January 2006

Gillmor and Clifton speak about citizen journalism

[Keyword: ] “The answer to ‘Is citizen journalism a threat or an opportunity to journalism’ is… ‘yes'” was the summing up soundbite from Dan Gillmor, author of OJ bible We The Media (available on Creative Commons download here) at the end of the Journalism Leaders Forum in Preston last night.

The forum promised some luminaries of the online journalism field including the Head of BBC Interactive, Pete Clifton; Cath Hearne, editor of BBC London’s nightly news programme; and Mike Ward, author of Journalism Online.

There was some particularly constructive debate on a number of issues, particularly the responses to the NUJ’s recently issued code of conduct (Word doc) for citizen journalists (or “witness contributors” as John Fray, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists, preferred to call them). And poor Gillmor had to rake over his recent decision to stop spending money on his citizen journalism venture, Bayosphere.

I’m sure you’ll find the forum reported in full at, whose Jemima Kiss had been present since midday. You can also view the Webcast by logging in as a guest at

Credit goes to Francois Nel at UCL for organising the event, and keeping the discussion rolling to time. There’ll be another forum in May, so contact Francois if you want to attend.

PS: if you’re interested in the issues debated you might also be interested in a similar debate held on the Guardian’s Organ Grinder blog, and an article on citizen journalism pioneer OhMyNews on who owns the rights to citizen journalists’ work (the answer: most of the time, not you).