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Collaborative Media - OhMyNews
Alex Steffen, 17 Nov 03

OhMyNews is the future of journalism, period. Started on a shoestring budget by a group of progressive freelancers, the South Korean online newspaper mixes writing by trained professional journalists and volunteer "citizen reporters" to produce a depth and intensity of coverage which routinely beats its more established competitors to the punch, while airing a variety of opinions and points of view previously buried in Korea's conservative, cozy-with-power press. But with 27,000 citizen reporters and about 1 million readers each day, OhMyNews is no longer alternative to anything - it is perhaps the most influential newspaper in Korea.

Japan Media Review recently interviewed OhMyNews founder Oh Yeon-Ho. It's a great glimpse into the workings of what Dan Gillmor has called "an experiment in tomorrow":

"In my opinion, nowadays journalism is changing. The form of 20th century journalism and the form of 21st century journalism will be fundamentally different. For 21st century journalism, if a reader wants to, he can convert himself into a reporter and this is realized through the Internet.

"Someone might think that this is the unique situation of Korea and OhmyNews, but I think it is not. Even in countries where they don't have OhmyNews, citizens act as reporters whether they recognize it or not. Through Yahoo discussion space or the Readers' Opinions section of The New York Times, they are already affecting professional journalists...

"In the old days, didn't readers send their letters to newspaper companies and the companies edited them? It is not true now. Now citizens are publishing one-person newspapers -- blogs.

"Where professional reporters once exercised their influence exclusively, now they compete with citizens, so professional journalists could be in trouble if they still try to confront general readers with their authority and arrogance. ... Thus, it is necessary that the reporters quickly figure out how the world is changing and that they change themselves along with it."

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