JEEcamp banner

On March 14 I will be hosting an ‘unconference’ around journalism enterprise and entrepreneurship. Rick Waghorn, of, will make the keynote speech.

JEEcamp is an opportunity for a range of people to get together to talk about how on earth journalists and publishers can make a living from journalism in the era of free information, what the challenges are, and what we’ve learned so far.

It is also an opportunity for people with different skills and experiences to network, share those experiences, and perhaps suggest partnerships or new projects.

Attendees might have launched their own journalism project – or worked on one within a mainstream organisation. Or they might just have lots of great ideas, or knowledge about the area.

Anyone can attend by signing up on the event wiki at – first come, first served. To add your name, click ‘Edit Page’ – the password is ‘jee‘.

JEEcamp will take place on

Friday March 14 at The Bond in Digbeth, Birmingham (map)

Attendees will be asked to pay £20 towards the costs of the venue – if sponsorship is acquired that money will go to a charity decided by vote.

The event is also listed on Facebook if you want to add yourself there too.


Rather than maintain two blogs, I’ll be posting about citizen journalism at my main blog at Until we do another conference, this blog will be sleeping for a while.

Roy Greenslade writes:

“Residents in the New Hampshire town of Deerfield felt their affairs were not being adequately reported, so they started their own newspaper, The Forum. But that’s not the only innovation. The newsprint version is published only on an “as needed” basis, about four times a year, and then mailed to 7,200 homes. The main news appears on its website. Launched in August 2005 by Maureen Mann and her neighbours, it has enjoyed overwhelming success, producing 30 to 40 stories a week and boasting 80 regular contributors, of all ages. Nobody is paid, except for an ad seller who works on commission. In other words, it’s a true example of citizen journalism. (Via Media Life) “

Attendee Martin Stabe has written about the Citizen Journalism conference in this week’s Press Gazette. Sadly, his ‘Fleet Street 2.0’ column is not online these days (as he no longer works for PG full time, or oversees their website), so I can’t give you a link, but he broadly talks about people struggling to grasp “why anyone would ‘publish’ anything for non-commercial reasons” while pointing out

“For the bulk of bloggers and social media users, these tools represent the blurring of traditional distinctions between their private, one-to-one communications channels and public, one-to-many publishing media.
“Many, if not most, bloggers write for a small audience of friends or family.”

On the table I was sat there was a discussion about bloggers’ motivations. One attendee said they must be looking for an audience, otherwise why publish? I feel there’s something else here, which is that some, if not most, bloggers are not looking for a an audience, but a community, which is different. If I blog about online journalism, it is partly because I hope to make contact with others in that community of interest, and I do.

So report Red Herring. Guess what? It’s cheaper than paying journalists.

From the latest OPA mailing:

“A year and a half ago, Backfence was the darling of hyper-local citizen journalism, started by veterans Mark Potts and Susan DeFife and flush with $3 million in venture funding. But at the turn of the new year, there was trouble, as DeFife exited along with other executives, and co-founder Mark Potts took charge to try to shape “Backfence 2.0.” DeFife said they had sold 550 ads to local businesses on the 13 sites in the network, but critics complained that many sites looked like ghost towns and that they were too dependent on advertising. “It always ends up being so much different than the way you imagine it to be,” Potts told the Washington Post, his former employer. “We haven’t rolled out as quickly as we’d wanted to. But we think the basic concept we went after is absolutely still the right place to be.” Despite the failure of citizen media networks such as Backfence and Bayosphere, the idea is still very much alive, as the New York Times featured another such effort by to create virtual town squares.”

Michael Hill has very kindly given us permission to make his PowerPoint presentation available. It can be downloaded from the Media Department website at