Topix Relaunches and Embraces Citizen Journalism; TF1 Does the Same in France

April 3, 2007

Via Mathew Ingram’s blog:

Topix, the local news aggregator that is owned by several big U.S. newspaper chains (Gannett, The Tribune and McClatchy), is doing what amounts to a relaunch of the site and adding “citizen journalism” or social media to the mix, as well as moving to a dot-com domain (it used to be dot-net). Founder and CEO Rich Skrenta — who describes on his personal blog how this came out of an attempt to “de-suckify” the site — has a blog post at Topix about the changes, and says: “We’re now inviting members from our hyperlocal communities to take over the controls and help us edit the news.” (…)

Skrenta says that Topix is getting about 37,000 posts a day, and the site was looking for a way of featuring the top 1 to 5 per cent of those contributions that actually add something to the story. Now, anyone can submit a story, or facts about a story, or an opinion, or cellphone photos, and they will be handled by what amounts to an editor. (…)

At the same time, my friend Philippe Martin sends me this news about TF1 (one of the top TV networks in France). On their 1pm newscast, they will ask viewers to send them local videos using the Wat.tv site (also owned by TF1), which might afterward appear on TV.

What it means: newspapers and TV news organizations are starting to clue in on the importance of hyperlocal news and citizen journalism. It is a key success factor for them in the future.

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