Experimenting with Citizen Journalism Site Demotix

Last night I joined Demotix (“the news by you”) to see how to use the site.  ( I signed up because my students were having problems posting content to various citizen journalism sites. The problem seems to be that most of these sites want images – still and video – and are less interested in text.)

Based in London, Demotix is particularly good with international news, so I posted a photo of a street poster I noticed this weekend in LA’s Echo Park neighborhood supporting the Iranian students who have been protesting the disputed Presidential Election in that country since June. (Demotix did a terrific job facilitating citizen content from the June protests).

Demotix has an interesting model that offers to license your work and share profits 50-50 if a mainstream media outlet buys your content.  It’s kind of like having an agent.  This makes it significantly different from sites like CNN’s iReport or YouTube, where you do the work of collecting the story or image and they make the money.  Think about it.

Random observations:

  • Very easy sign-up.  I gave my real name.  If you are trying to get your user generated content out, why use a fake one?
  • They wanted a Paypal account in order to pay you if anyone does buy your stuff.

I have been especially struck by Demotix’s efficient dissemination tools.  This morning, I had two emails from them, one that was  written for easy forwarding via email for the old schoolers,  and a second one encouraging me to use any social media networks I have to distribute the link to my post.   The share link gave me a huge range of options, many of which I have never heard of! One was to WordPress, and when I clicked that one, it dumped the url for the link to my photo into this post.

What can I say? I’m a complete sucker for sites that describe their mission this way:

“To give the man and (often more importantly) woman on the street a voice. Whether they’re in Azerbaijan or Zanzibar. A space where they can tell their stories, build communities, and get their news out to the world. We see Demotix standing on the barricades of free speech and civil society.”

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