Linking And Gifting In Hyperlocal News

April 28th, 2010 by Lily Q Leave a reply »

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Today we’ll be using my website, NYU Local, as a lens through which to observe the link economy and content gifting in hyperlocal news organizations. I realize that this sounds hideously boring, but it’s actually pretty relevant if you’re at all interested in the media, so I’ll try to keep it upbeat and thrilling. Or at least not snooze-worthy.We’ll be jumping into the topic like so:
  1. The motivation for/history of NYU Local- Basically, I wrote an article for WSN freshman year that was largely ignored at NYU but became kind of A Thing online. I was enamored with the idea of the printed word until this happened and it became abundantly clear that being able to hold something in your hand isn’t necessarily a great thing. With this in mind, another student and I started NYU Local as a less static answer to WSN.
  2. The Mission: To provide relevant NYU news in a conversational way with the help of the student body and regular staff members. From the beginning, we knew we’d be relying on free content, and that was part of our motivation for putting all original content under a Creative Commons license.
  3. Early Copyright Issues: NYU Local got in a bit of a tussle with The AP over posting a picture that we maintain was fair use. Funny fact: we were only posting the pic because the story was about The AP suing an artist for turning the picture into a not-for-profit political poster.
  4. Ongoing Link Economy Problems: We’re into the whole “Do what you do best and link to the rest” concept. Whether it’s a story we don’t have the resources to cover or just a post that WSN or another publication got to first, if it’s relevant to the NYU community, we try to post about it and link to it. It seems like common sense, but organizations like The New York Post and WSN seem to disagree.
  5. These links/habit of showing our sources contributes to the sort of transparency and credibility that inspires readers to contribute content. But it’s not the only thing…
  6. There are 3 primary motivations for gifting content: 1) a sense of accomplishment 2) Love of collaboration and/or Being Right and, to a lesser degree, 3) Boredom
  7. Will journalism right itself and find that free user content is kind? Probably not. There are enduring credibility issues, complications with money and the fact that Jaron Lanier, though his hair is so untrustworthy, isn’t totally wrong.

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