Rising Voices proudly announces the first in a series of outreach guides meant to explain the fundamentals of citizen media to a non-technical readership.
The first guide, An Introduction to Citizen Media, offers context and case studies which show how everyday citizens across the world are increasingly using blogs, podcasts, online video, and digital photography to engage in an unmediated conversation which transcends borders, cultures, and differing languages. From the introduction:
A change is taking place in how we communicate.
Just ten years ago we all learned about the world around us from newspapers, the television, and radio. Professional journalists would go to faraway places and bring back stories, photographs and videos of the situations they witnessed and the people they met.
Sometimes at dinner we talk about these stories with our friends and family. But ten years ago we rarely, if ever, communicated directly with the journalists themselves. Leading members of society wrote editorials expressing their opinions about various issues, but the rest of us could only share our opinions and thoughts with a small group of friends.
Over the last few years everything has changed. Thanks to new tools like weblogs, it is now possible to easily publish to the Internet. From Turkey to Kenya to Bolivia, everyday people like you and me are starting to share their stories and opinions with the rest of the world.
While this new form of communication is now freely available to anyone, most of the people participating still live in the wealthy neighborhoods of urban cities.
The purpose of this guide is to show that anyone with an internet connection can participate in the emerging global conversation. Our understanding of the world is now shaped not just by the newspapers and television, but also by each other.
This first edition of An Introduction to Citizen Media is available in English, Spanish, and Bengali. Future editions will also be available in Swahili, Malagasy, and Aymara.
While there are already several excellent introductions to the principles of citizen media, they tend to overwhelmingly focus on the surge of citizen media initiatives in North America and Western Europe. This guide, on the other hand, hopes to show readers in North America and Western Europe that some of the most exciting and innovative developments related to citizen media are taking place in the non-Western world. It also aims to serve as a reference document for local citizen media initiatives that wish to provide a more international context to their projects when they approach community leaders, politicians, and foundations.
Throughout 2008 Rising Voices will continue to publish and release guides which document in greater detail the use and implementation of RSS feeds, blogs, digital photography, podcasting, and online video.