On August 1, 2010, OhMyNews of South Korea announced that next month its international site will change from an edited citizen journalism news site to a “blog dedicated to covering and discussing the world of citizen journalism itself."
The old site will remain but will not accept any more articles. “The new OMNI is a guide to what citizen journalists, academics, and even professionals are thinking about how everyone will collaborate on the news of the future.”
The new mission statement starts with this declaration: “OMNI is the barometer for citizen journalism.” The mission statement concludes by asking: “How are regular people making and changing the news? Visit the new home at http://international.ohmynews.com
Why is OhMyNews rebooting a citizen journalism site that has been a world leader in the field since 2004? It has become a victim of its own success. The paid editors for OmN found it increasingly difficult to verify facts because stories poured in from all over the world. OmN receives as many as 225 articles per day from a pool of 70,000 citizen journalists. “Fact checking is one of our core principles,” according to the OMNI team. An article entitled, “The Principles of Journalism,” corroborates this practice. The PEW Commission developed this article at it was posted at www.journalism.com Verifying facts should not be confused with neutrality on the part of the journalist: pro or gifted amateur.
OmN was founded in 2000 “to correct the imbalance in the Korean media environment.” It’s becoming well known that OhMyNews even advanced the cause of democracy itself in South Korea. Until 2000, South Korea was a harsh military dictatorship. OmN led the way in the successful presidential run of Mr. Roh--a left wing, pro-democracy president, who was considered an outsider. Then Oh my News helped prevent his impeachment in 2004.
OmN’s successes for democracy don’t end there. However until 2004, the accomplishments of Oh my News largely went unnoticed because it was written in Korean only. Then Oh my News International, also known as English Oh my News was started in 2004, and the rest is journalism history.
How will the thousands of OmN citizen journalists like myself stay involved in the near future? Here are three suggestions from the staff. (1) Write for the citizen journalism site in your country or create your own blog.” OmN even offers, “Please feel free to consult with our experts on the best ways to build a new site.” (2) “Tell us what you are writing about, and give us a feed to include in our aggregator.” (3) OmN is eager to hear from us and hopes we’ll “be active in writing posts on citizen journalism.” In addition, submitting stories will be easier; just click and paste. OhMyNews wants comments on stories at the new site.