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Chapter 2: Mapping Citizen Media Models

J-Lab has previously divided hyperlocal citizen media sites into three categories: all-volunteer sites, legacy media sites and hybrid sites joining small paid staffs with citizen contributors. Sites are more diverse than that, however.

What follow are some narrower classifications and brief profiles of many of the sites examined in-depth for this study. The site classifications are necessarily imperfect; some sites fit more than one category, or have features that overlap category lines. Categorizations that apply in the summer of 2006, at the time this research was being conducted, may be out of date by summer 2007.

For the moment, however, J-Lab defines community cooperatives as sites where volunteers share labor and decision making, usually with formal meetings. Trained citizen journalist sites embrace traditional journalism values and offer training to non-journalists.

Professional journalists operating independently of legacy media companies are operating two kinds of sites: for-profit and non-profit.

Blog aggregator sites are one-stop community repositories where citizens can scan multiple local blogs, and local bloggers can engage each other. Syndicated multi-site models have as their goal the development of a model that can be syndicated in and adapted to multiple communities.

Legacy media sites were launched by newspapers or broadcast corporations as places for users to dominate the content, in contrast to their news web sites dominated by the work of professional journalists.

Solo enterprise sites (both for-profit and non-profit) are the work of individuals and partners, few of whom have professional journalism experience.

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