Do-It-Yourself Journalism

Here is Ariana Eunjung Cha wrote on the Washington Post:

The explosion of the Internet over the past decade has allowed anyone with an Internet connection to instantaneously publish whatever he or she wants, fueling the growth of “citizen reporters.” Over the past year or so, media companies have been backing citizen journalism efforts like Your Mom in various shapes and sizes across the country. They are creating what some believe to be a more democratic press, but throwing into question what it means to be a journalist and adding a new dimension to debates over fairness, libel, protection of confidential sources and trust in the media.

On one end of the spectrum is Falls Church-based, a venture run by local residents with no editorial guidance from the site’s owners that is evolving into a sort of virtual town square. Its hyper-local coverage is available so far in McLean and Reston.

On the other end, there’s New West, a Web site that specializes in politics and development issues in the Rocky Mountain region. Its goal is to break news in competition with mainstream media, and it contains a mix of content written by experienced journalists and amateurs.

Most others fall somewhere in the middle — almost exclusively written by citizen reporters but edited for grammar, style and some content. Examples include the Northwest Voice in Bakersfield, Calif., in Kansas and Your Mom.