Another Local Media Engine

While sitting in the newsroom today getting ready for my show, I looked up at one of the many television screens, and saw an advertisment from one of the other stations in town pushing something called “U Local.”  I Googled “u local” and found it to be a service ran by Heart Argyle TV stations (may be other H.A. owned items too but mainly I found TV stations)

Here is an example from WMUR, the only network affiliate in New Hampshire.

ULocal WMUR 

Here is how they refer to the site:  “your place to share videos, audio, photos, and stories. Join now and get your own profile page, and unlimited media uploads!”

I like the layout a lot, it’s very simple and right off the bat you can upload a picture or a video. To the right of that you see a selection of pictures already in the system.  There is a comments and forums section and a strong feeling of community.  There is a feeling that the site connects your uploads to CNN as well but it is not very clear.


Qwiki Media Benchmarking

My final project web idea is a Wikinews site, outlined like Craigslist, tailored to local news and hometown stories. I call it Qwiki Media.

The Competition:

1.) Wikinews: “The Free Source, You Can Write.” It wasn’t until I went to Wikinews I was able to narrow in on my idea. Wikinews is just like Wikipedia, it’s open for others to write and report. This is a direct source of news that reports the facts. It is unclear who writes each story, but sources are detailed at the bottom of each page. Commenting is allowed. When asked to post a comment it is clear the section is for commenting and that your IP address is recorded. The feeling of being watched closely is certainly there when wanting to comment. There is also a water cooler section on Wikinews where people can seek answers on how to use Wikinews.

Not seeing too many comments posted, it is hard to see who is using the site. I get the impression that people who want direct facts on a story and people who tire easily of a lot of web adds like this site. No information is required to read the stories, you can look at stories all over the world or be randomly taken to a story. There is an audio section and a social media section, but no video. This is a site for people who want just the basics of news. This is also a site for someone who either is a reporter or wants to be a reporter. This is wide open for the consumer to be the producer/writer. I would imagine an older age range. Younger users might not like how overly simple this site is. Also the layout is very boring and hard to navigate beyond top stories. They attract their faithful users, by keeping the site simple and free of heavy advertisement. One also has to work hard to find a place to comment. So really the appeal sticks to just reading or reporting the news and no social networking is desired, but is allowed.

The Organization is very simple. The front page is just top stories. Below that other top stories, but not the most up-to date.  The columns have locations you can jump to but only national ones.

The credibility of Wikinews is very important. In the column there is a section to upload a story. The “free use media” section. In this section they ask all the important questions. They ask where is the story from, the sources, where the images are from and do you have the permission to post it. There are a lot of details here that are required, that another user could track down to make sure the first writer is legit.

The design is so boring (which is something that could be done better), it makes me irritated. There is no rhyme or reason to their layout. They match wikepedia very well, but I don’t think it is needed to do that. I would prefer sections of news, not just whatever the latest story written is. Each story is random.

What they do well is credit the stories. They also do a good job giving anyone who wants it a chance to be the writer and “produser.” I also don’t get the impression they care how much the site is used. They obviously want it used or it else it wouldn’t exist, but they don’t go out of their way to attract new people. I had not even known them to be there until I read Bruns article on Wikinews.

2.) Craigslist: “Local classifieds and forums – community moderated, and largely free.”

Why would I be comparing my site to Craigslist? While they are not directly the competition, they are at the heart of what makes my idea different from Wikinews. This is a very simple site. No banners, no ads, because the entire site is an advertisement. The links range from forums, to folks posting stuff to sell or swap. It appeals to people based on how simple a site it is. No fancy designs and the layout is almost idiot proof. It is also a word of mouth site, just like wikinews. Unless you have heard of it before both are hard to come by as neither do any real marketing.

This is a home for people who love to shop, love yard sales, and want bargains. This is for the thrifty shopper, someone who doesn’t want a lot of fuss and wants to find a good deal quick. This is for the more savvy internet user. The age range could be any age as long as they understand how this site works.  They can access the site from anywhere in the world. I went shopping for tea in England and an apartment in Wales.

I love the structure of the site. The organization is what inspires me. While I hate the design and layout, the simplicity is what works. You start by picking the country, then state, then town if need be, followed by what topic you are looking for. There are break down of categories inside the town or state you are looking at. Or just search for the item in the state you are looking for. So England, Wales, Cardiff, Apartments.

Craigslist has had trouble for  years of people on their site being credible. While Craigslist itself works hard to be credible in weeding out the crazy people, they can’t get rid of everyone and needed to block certain topics and to stop certain services. The pubic had feared a “Craigslist Killer” this past summer, which did a lot of damage to the site.

The design is again like wikinews. Very simple layout. Very black and white. No fuss no fancy graphics or animation, just simple and basic text. What are you looking for and where do you want to find it.

Albeit ugly, that is what works for them, it adds to the appeal of the site from a lot of users. They keep it as simple as possible that’s what works well.

They could highlight their categories better. They could also police the site a lot better too, but they say they are working on it.

3.) CNN’s

At the very top of CNN’s news site, ireport, the following is stated: “ is a user-generated site. That means the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post. Only stories marked “On CNN” have been vetted for use in CNN news coverage.”

This site is very slick. It has an amazing layout, cool pictures, video and even allows for tagging. This is the site to beat all other user-generated media sites. This is appealing to a younger crowd. Someone with a flipcam, ipod nano, cell phone camera any kind of PDA where they can upload quickly. You have to be a very smart web user to get this site. The interest of this user is to see if their story will end up on CNN’s website or their over the air broadcast. This could also be someone who feels their story needs to be told on a bigger level. Someone who feels they are being ignored by others.

It’s organized very similarly to Wikinews. The most recent story is on top. To the side are current tags, and then current pictures or video. There is a strong encouragement of the ireporters. Some celebrating how much time spent as an ireporter. CNN has done a good job cheering on people to use this site and a very good job marketing the site to make folks aware that it exists.

The credibility comes from CNN. The better the reporter, the more CNN gives them the credit. There is a lot of work being done here to champion good work. Comments are allowed, but the ireporters do a good job policing their own site.

There is also a heavy twitter or facebook type layout or style going on here too. They layout is simple, but much more appealing to they eye over Wikinews. Here you find a strong feeling of community. An assignment desk, a toolkit section, and even a map to see where people are reporting from.

The only thing I see they do wrong is not encourage more local news. It is again too wide spread. There is no easy way for me to see what is going on in my state or city. It’s still too all over the map.



While reading this week “Wikinews: The Next Generation of Alternative Online News?” I was inspired to lock in an idea for my final project. In my initial “three idea” proposal I had offered up a website for “consumer media.” Now having been a bit more educated I can narrow in on my objective.

I wish to build a combination of Wikinews and Craigslist.  All news is local. So in my site the consumer or “produsers,” as Dr. Burns calls them, can go to the home page, choose their town, and state, then upload their story.

At first glance Wikinews is too simple and makes it a bit too hard to find anything. If I wants something local, it should be easier and quicker to find. Also there are audio files but no video. What if I want to upload video? We could also embed video from other news-sites too.


I cite craigslist because the breakdown is so useful. State then city then category.

Criagslist page Craigslist Maine

My “QwikiMedia” would break it down as State, Town, then category. On Wikinews there is just “news” on mine there should be more categories, and also there should be a video section, and an audio section. There could also be a town resource section too. It’s frustrating to search multiple town websites for information on my town. So if there was a bulletin or update for the city, it could be posted here. Same goes for a police log or police notices for the public. There are a great many updates that could be posted here.

I also still say that if there “produser” is reporting, unless it is from first hand experience, then they will be required to cite their sources. Also I agree with Wikinews, there is no need for commenting on the site. The core of the idea is to tell your story.


How About an Actual “Face”Book

So while speaking to the students at Lyndon State College, I was asking them what kind of websites they would like. A lot of people suggested a Facebook with live video conferencing. So basically combine Sykpe and Facebook. Allow for live video chats with multiple people all while doing status updates. While this idea does sound more technically advanced than I am capable of, it may be my new direction. I am however still looking at other ideas and may just join a class members team.


Website Ideas


-Enter a news information based website and see the how trustworthy it is. Test the “Truthiness” of it. This site would verify how legitimate the website is. Meaning if it claims to be reporting information, but that information is President Obama “is going to kill Grandma,” then this site will inform you that it is not a real news based website, but in-fact is simply a site for entertainment.


-Think of it as Craigslist but for local news. This is a consumer based website that is generated by user content. At the core of this website is only facts, no opinions. People can report about what is happening in their area, they must state their sources and attach their name to the story. Basically what the paparazzi does for TMZ the “average Joe” can do for this site. Moderators of the site must check out the information to verify its authenticity. Local police and town officials could also use the site to post information about what is happening in their town. You can tag your town or tag your story.


-Take what we use for Photosynth and apply it to people or tagging. As a source for gathering information, and connecting people to people. Think of it as the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, but with tagging, and people all over the world. How would you connect me to you? Do we have any connections between us? Plug our names into “Next Level Photosynth” and find out.