An agency full of citizens?
Judith Högerl, who works at the Austria Press Agency, has studied the nature of the relationship between citizen journalism and press agencies. In her paper, 'An agency full of citizens? How news agencies cope with citizen journalism: Their concerns and strategies', Judith looks at a series of intriguing questions including: will news agencies still be the agenda-setters or do citizen journalism websites take over this role? If information can be found on the internet for free, how does this affect an agency's business model? How do news agencies cope with citizen journalism and should they develop their own projects to involve people in the news-making process? She focuses on six case studies: Thomson Reuters, the AP and the Austrian APA, the websites Wikinews, OhmyNews and Demotix.Amongst Judith’s conclusions are that ‘the news agencies see citizen journalism as an issue to care and think about but they are not too concerned for their business models. Although some already fear for their future, the news agencies still trust in their own strengths and power.‘ However, Judith found that all three news agencies are convinced they need to be open to new opportunities so they will not miss new developments. She concludes that faced with the information-tsunami from new media, ‘their impact as agenda setters and gatekeepers will become more important than ever before.’