SA’s new citizen journ site gets its first scoop

lundi 23 janvier 2006


Par Journalism.

Barely two weeks after its launch, South Africa’s first citizen journalism portal is “exceeding expectations,” according to the website’s editor Juliette Saunders. Felix Bate reports.

Saunders said the public has been responding positively to the news portal, though she could not give the number of hits the website has been getting. But she said that there were already more that 1800 registered contributors, sending stories.

In this short space of time, the website has also managed a scoop by breaking the story of a helicopter crash in Cape Town, with an eyewitness account and pictures. is the brainchild of by Johnnic Communications, one of South Africa’s leading media houses, managed through its new media wing - Johncom Group Digital Media.

Saunders said the aim of the venture was to do something innovative and radically different in the new media space. This has been made possible by advances in information and communication technologies, which has enabled the growth of the phenomenon of citizen journalism, whereby anybody with the simplest of means and interest can report on events they witness.

This South African venture follows on the heels of the explosive success of a South Korean version (Ohmynews), that began back in 2000 and the growth in popularity of in France as the leading citizen journalism portal in Europe. Some stories from these sites are now listed by Yahoo News alongside news from other established news agencies.

With a team of experienced journalist that includes Peter Malherbe, Manu Padayachee and 20 others, Saunders says they aim to provide the public with a forum where their views and voices can be heard. “We would not try to talk to the public or push an agenda,” said Saunders, “We are trying to get the public talking in such a way that we are informed by the general public.”[...]

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