It is evident that the ways in which we report new information and get informed have been changing for some time now and continue to do so. For years, traditional media have been opening the door to new media and, above all, to new means of communication which can perfectly complement the existing ones -even though they are always encountered with opponents-.

This change can be viewed from different perspectives, but one of the key drivers is the demand of citizens to actively take part in the creation of content, giving shape to the figure of the “prosumer”, that is, someone who both produces and consumes the content and information stored on the network. Beyond journalism, multimedia communication tools such as Twitch promote, among users, a sense of belonging to a community and encourage their active participation in its creation.

Currently, there are websites that enable any citizen to create content. Even though its initial purpose was different, Medium is now a publishing service where anyone can write a freely themed text. It emerged in 2012 and has gradually been recruiting authors who joined it for fun and out of the desire to share their content.

It has a minimalist but truly useful design that combines articles from different authors on the front page and creates that feeling of belonging to a digital platform. It has managed to get thousands of users to use the tool as a production repository and even as a quick way for others to access their content, in the form of a portfolio. Thus, Medium is successfully offering multiple options while enabling professional contributors to generate income thanks to the subscription-based content “sold” by the platform.

Does Medium promote collaborative journalism?

According to the definition, collaborative journalism is a model of journalism carried out by a group of people who create information and distribute it among themselves and to third parties through the web, seeking to produce more content than any individual journalist, newsroom or organization could produce on its own. Another concept that is related but different from this term is that of citizen journalism; it describes the participation of the public in the creation and dissemination of information.

We could say that tools such as Medium combine both ideas, providing a space for citizens who wish to produce content and thus become journalists, and at the same time contribute to the formation of a network of communicators as part of collaborative journalism.

Other tools such as Wikinews define themselves with their call to action: “Don’t forget that on Wikinews, you are the journalist! If there is a topic you want Wikinews to cover, create an account and write your own news!” It is a free content news source with the idea of bridging the digital divide and everyone is invited to publish reports, whether short, long, written from personal experience or gathered from anywhere else.

News-365 free publishing portal

Currently, an increasing number of platforms rely on this model of collaboration for the creation of digital content. This is the case of News 365, a portal for the publication of text and multimedia content; it has been created as a result of a research project of our IOT Digital Innovation Hub, which seeks to combine current affairs, opinion and topics of free choice. Any user can access, register and start uploading content. It also operates as a social network since readers can follow the authors -and the authors can follow each other- to keep abreast of publications and comments.

Although this platform is only a few months old, it is gaining visibility as the official media of the C1b3rWall Academy; the digital security and cyber intelligence course of the National Police, which has had 20,000 registered participants before its launch last June 7, for the first module on blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

In short, although there are still few platforms that are committed to collaboration and citizen participation in journalism, their innovative model and user-centred approach is leading to an ever-increasing interest in them.

Posted by Juan M. Corchado

Juan Manuel Corchado (15 de Mayo de 1971, Salamanca, España) Catedrático en la Universidad de Salamanca. Ha sido Vicerrector de Investigación desde el 2013 hasta el 2017 y Director del Parque Científico de la Universidad de Salamanca. Elegido dos veces como Decano de la Facultad de Ciencias, es Doctor en Ciencias de la Computación por la Universidad de Salamanca y, además, es Doctor en Inteligencia Artificial por la University of the West of Scotland. Dirige el Grupo de Investigación Reconocido BISITE (Bioinformática, Sistemas Inteligentes y Tecnología Educativa), creado en el año 2000. Director del IOT Digital Innovation Hub y presidente del AIR Institute, J. M. Corchado también es Profesor Visitante en el Instituto Tecnológico de Osaka desde enero de 2015, Profesor visitante en la Universiti Malaysia Kelantan y Miembro del Advisory Group on Online Terrorist Propaganda of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (EUROPOL). J. M. Corchado ha sido presidente de la asociación IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics, y coordinador académico del Instituto Universitario de Investigación en Arte y Tecnología de la Animación de la Universidad de Salamanca e investigador en las Universidades de Paisley (UK), Vigo (Spain) y en el Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK). En la actualidad compagina toda su actividad con la dirección de los programas de Máster en Seguridad, Animación Digital, Telefonía Movil, Dirección de Sistemas de Información, Internet de las Cosas, Social Media, Diseño e Impresión 3D, Blockchain, Z System, Industria 4.0, Gestión de Proyectos Ágiles y Smart Cities & Intelligent Buildings​, en la Universidad de Salamanca y su trabajo como editor jefe de las revistas ADCAIJ (Advances in Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence Journal), OJCST (Oriental Journal of Computer Science and Technology) o Electronics MDPI (Computer Science & Engineering section). J. M. Corchado desarrolla principalmente trabajos en proyectos relacionados con Inteligencia Artificial, Machine Learning, Blockchain, IoT, Fog Computing, Edge Computing, Smart Cities, Smart Grids y Análisis de sentimiento.