CNN Plunges Into Citizen Journalism
'CNN Exchange' looks to utilize user-submitted content to report a new perspective on news events

Jason Hahn (woowhee) Published 2006-08-01 09:35 (KST)

On Monday, CNN unveiled its answer to user-created content sites such as YouTube and OhmyNews in the form of CNN Exchange, a page on that opens up the online news giant to article, video, and picture submissions.

On its homepage, CNN Exchange touts itself as a place that "invites YOU to connect with the news: Share your stories, your pictures, your videos wherever you see the I-Report logo. Weigh in on blogs. Click your way through QuickVotes and more."

Recent conflicts in the Middle East have found widespread coverage on media channels outside of cable television news sources, which used to be the only means through which people around the world could access up-to-the-minute updates on happenings in "hot spots" for news. Blogs and video-sharing sites have quickly become a new wave of news that demands serious attention in regards to the way news is relayed to the general public, online or offline.

Earlier in July, CNN actually played YouTube video clips that were recorded by people living near the areas of conflict in Lebanon, displaying the growing demand for news and perspectives that come from writers, photographers, and citizens with handheld video cameras that are located in the midst of all the action.

"User-generated content has the potential to play a pivotal role in journalism whether its online or offline. With CNN Exchange, weve essentially created a one-stop shop for users to share their contributions with other Internet users," said Mitch Gelman, senior vice president and executive producer for

This move by CNN will be the first foray into what is known as "citizen journalism" by a major news organization. It is a shrewd strategy for CNN, who now has the luxury of just sitting back and waiting for user-created content to flow in to them, rather than using precious manpower and man-hours to scour other video and citizen journalism sites in order to find content that it wants to utilize for its news broadcasts.

In addition to already having 24/7 coverage of events in active news areas, CNN will now have eyes, ears, and hands ready to give them the scoop on intricacies and issues that may be overlooked and unseen by the news organization. will have a group of workers devoted to filtering the best of the submissions they receive to post to various CNN outlets. The news giant also indicated that it will use the site as a way to promote its own blogs, and to spotlight other citizen journalist sites on the Internet.

Similar initiatives by other major news organizations should be expected in the near future, as Web users continue to be a growing, and increasingly significant resource for relevant and important first-hand news, especially in continually conflicted areas around the globe like the Middle East.

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