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Newspapers And Reporters AndNewspapers And Reporters And…Citizen Journalists? Oh My!

Traditionally, if you wanted a byline in the International Herald Tribune, you'd have to try to get a job there, or at least get in touch with an editor to pitch your idea. That may be changing.

The IHT has reportedly entered into an agreement with a South Korean news website called OhmyNews International to publish in its pages some of the citizen journalists who contribute to the site. The deal is apparently designed to increase the IHT's coverage of Asia – without, it seems, the newspaper having to actually hire anyone new.

Reports the Guardian:

OhmyNews has been described as a news equivalent of Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia written by its users. Anyone can submit an article to OhmyNews and about three-quarters of the stories on the site are the work of the network's 40,000 non-professional contributors. The rest come from about 50 in-house writers and editors, who also vet the public material to decide what is printed.
The World Cup, says OhmyNews senior editor Todd Thacker, presents a good opportunity for the IHT to take advantage of the deal. "We have citizen reporters in 89 countries, and we're expecting a mini tidal wave of stories from fans," he says.

Many OhmyNews contributors are in South Korea, and they are not, it seems, in it for the money, as they're paid just a small sum for their work, depending on its popularity – if it actually gets published, that is. But the model works, and it's much needed, writes contributor Ronda Hauben (who was, incidentally, responding to this Samuel Freedman column on Public Eye).

"The current crisis in the mainstream media in the U.S. demonstrates that there is a need for a serious examination of the deficiencies of the corporate dominated media," she writes. "By studying models like the Korean OhmyNews and trying to learn from its ability to welcome netizens to be part of a more participatory process for gathering and presenting the 'news,' a means may be found to create the needed alternative forms of 'news' for a 21st century press in the U.S."