In the first of a series of reviews of journalism enterprise launches, Nicolas Kayser-Bril takes a look at
- What do they say it is? “Instant Journalist gives you the power to easily create and manage an online community of citizen journalists. If you have the desire to give people in your community a voice, whether you are an individual or a large corporation, Instant Journalist will fit your needs.”
- What do I say it is?A kind of sub-wordpress CMS, proprietary and full of bugs. (I counted three error messages and a lot more minor bugs in five minutes). Now, they say their admin mode is great but the demo version doesnt allow for us to test that.
- What’s great about it?Not much. Every article has to be located on a Google map, that’s really good. On the other hand, the way it’s done here really is just 30 lines of code and doesn’t have any options (multilocation, eg, or a special way of presenting events that are recurrently at the same place, like town hall meeting)
- What could be better?Now it looks just like any other 2.0ish project, it would need to look a whole lot more professional to be serious (hiring a graphic designer would be a start, as well as setting up a quality control process).
- How is it going to make money?It’s not going to. Unless their admin mode is actually very easy to use, as they claim it is, and they market it very cleverly to community leaders with no sense of technology (there are a lot of those) and who have never heard of Ning (or disregard it as too trendy, not conservative enough).
- Should I pay it any attention?Yes. Cause if this succeeds despite its inherent flaws, it means that internet awareness in general is very low (for a start, it would mean that users can’t do a search. I’ve just checked Community Server, which apparently powers real communities such as MySpace Forums and costs roughly the same as Instant Journalism.)