While most people think of citizen journalism, at least at the current moment, they think of either the courageous bloggers in Burma (and other war-torn nations), or of those people who report on the minutiae of politics, especially local politics. However, while calling it journalism might be a stretch, there are other kinds of citizen-generated content that are making an immediate impact on people’s lives.
Check out Clever Commute, a website devoted to the travel situation and traffic in the New York City area. People use their blackberries and smart phones to share information about delays and reroutes, leading to a smoother commute for everyone involved. No, it’s not really journalism, at least in the traditional sense, but it is breaking news. And definitely essential knowledge for its users.
Although public transportation systems have been offering mobile updates for some time, this is the only service that lets people reach their fellow riders (which makes things much more immediate and accurate than the typically slow transit authority updates). Thus far, commuters using technology to help other commuters has proved to be a superior method of breaking traffic/transportation news, at least in NYC.
Want to know more? Check out this NY Times article on Clever Commute.
Do you have an outside-the-box citizen journalism idea? Take a gamble and enter the Knight News Challenge – you just might win the cash and the resources to make it happen.