By Steve Outing
Before I left my job as a senior editor at the Poynter Institute at the end of February, I turned in a package of articles about business models for “citizen journalism.” Poynter.org has now published it: “The Business of Supporting Citizen Journalism.”
The reason I left Poynter was to work full-time on a citizen-media startup company I founded devoted to adventure/participant sports, the Enthusiast Group.
When I turned in the draft of this package, there was no mention of EG; I felt that I didn’t want it to appear to be a promotion for my new company. But editors at Poynter felt that explaining to readers that I was moving into citizen media as an entrepreneur was important, for disclosure reasons and perhaps because it would help enhance my credibility in writing on this topic. So I added a single paragraph at the bottom of the intro piece reporting on my new endeavor.
Alas, if the first user comment on the package is an indication, the perception may be that this ends up being a promotion for EG. Chris Shea wrote in the comments area attached to the package: “This is essentially an ad for Outing’s new company. Is this appropriate content for Poynter?”
So let me respond here: For I think more than the last year, I was charged by Poynter with doing reporting and research on the field of citizen media; I was, I think it’s fair to say, the most knowledgeable person in the Poynter organization on citJ. That process led me to developing the concept behind EG, which I thought was an opportunity I had to try.
I suppose there was no perfect way to transition from doing writing and research on citJ to actually practicing it without someone thinking I’m taking advantage of the situation. Still, I hope this package of articles provides some insights to others who are practicing or thinking of practicing citJ.
If you take the time to read through the package, the only mention you’ll see of EG is that brief addendum to the intro piece. All the other reporting is about other companies’ and individuals’ efforts in finding ways to fund citizen media.