Four rules for using citizen journalists regularly on your paper – from those in the know

Bara Prochazkova from Czech paper Denik, speaking at the INMA and IFRA seminars in Warsaw, last week, laid down a few ground rules – learnt the hard way – for dealing with citizen journalists.

According to the INMA blog (a big thank you to friend of Grzegorz Piechota, of Gazeta Wyborcza, in Poland, for the point) Denik is the largest Czech broadsheet newspaper, with average sales of 330 copies [whoops – I hope that’s a typo].

For over a year, each of the 75 local branches [hoping that’s not a typo] of the paper carry a local Reader’s page of user-generated journalism.

Here are the rules they have padded together as the best way to deal with their contributors:

1. Do not let this become the forum about reader’s pets. Denik organizes workshops where basic journalist techniques are discussed.
2. Readers resolve tend to weaken, if they receive too little feedback.
3. How to keep readers interested? Small gifts or cash prizes.
4. Pages get dominated by older people without active marketing to the young.

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