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Mainstreaming Citizen Journalism in Australia: YouDecide2007

As we're slowly approaching the official start of the Australian federal election campaign (not that the unofficial campaign hasn't already started...), we're also getting very close to the launch of our citizen journalism site to accompany the election. This is the first major project in a three-year ARC Linkage research programme around citizen journalism which involves SBS, On Line Opinion, Cisco Systems, the Brisbane Institute, and my colleagues and me at QUT Creative Industries.

I'm very excited to see this happen, not least because the project builds quite directly on my research into citizen journalism in Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production and other publications, and is especially focussing on developing better vertical links between the various levels of journalism: we're looking to build stronger conduits between the grassroots of citizen journalism, the specialised level of informed debate on On Line Opinion, and the mainstream of news and current affairs reporting. In the process, we're keen to generate a greater level of widespread and multiperspectival public involvement in political debate and deliberation, and a greater take-up into the journalism industry proper of the themes and ideas emerging from the grassroots.

Our major tool in this process will be YouDecide2007, a comprehensive citizen journalism site for the hyperlocal coverage of the election from the perspective of citizen journalists across Australia's electorates. We're currently recruiting citizen journalists around the nation to get us started (and of course there will be plenty of opportunity for further participation and debate once the site is up) - please drop in to the site and let us know if you're interested to take part!

Update: Elsewhere, the site is now getting some publicity as well. Tim Dunlop has written about it at Blogocracy, and our own Jason Wilson has a guest post at Larvatus Prodeo.

Update 2: ... and I forgot to include a link to our first brief video blurb about the project:

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