Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ohmy-News - Pioneer of Citizen Journalism

Recently I read an excellent article in the Swiss Newspaper NZZ about Oh Yeon Ho, one of the pioneers of citizen journalism. He founded Ohmy-News as an Internet Journal in South Korea, in competition to the three large, well-established daily newspapers in South Korea.
In the meantime Ohmy-News is a huge power in South Korea's media landscape, with up to 780,000 readers per article. Oh Yeon Ho is leading the largest editorial staff of any newspaper, numbering 44,000 guerrilla reporters. He has no control over his reporters, they all operate in self-organization, and headlines bubble up in swarm creativity. But he still needs the human experts, to check the factual correctness of the submitted articles.
Oh yes, and by the way, with a staff of 80 paid employees, Ohmy-News has also been profitable since 2003, with 80% of revenue coming from ads, and 20% through selling news to other Web sites. Ohmy-News citizen reporters get $3 per published article, while a top story gets $20. Inspite of this relatively low compensation, there is no shortage on submitted articles. This is because this is a great platform for aspiring reporters, an excellent way of spreading one's beliefs, and also a way for authors to get more money, which can be transferred directly from a reader to the author, if the reader likes an article very much.
Another great example of swarm creativity!

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