Do You Edit Community Submitted Content?
Do you need to edit community submitted content in your hyperlocal newspaper? This has been a question that I have been faced with several times over the past four years of running LocalsGuide.com. It’s actually driven many folks primarily the Type A folks a bit crazy as I do not choose to edit content which I receive from the community and then reprint in LocalsGuide…. and here is why.
First of all I ask for all submissions to come in their final form, edited and ready to go. If someone doesn’t take the time or doesn’t want to edit their work this is their choice. My job as I see it as the owner of the media machine is to deliver the message. Similar to the job of the post office. I deliver the mail, not open it up along the way, change the message and then deliver it.
Yet, if you take some time to think about this you will realize this is exactly what is occurring with practically all mainstream media. whose voice is really being heard, whose point of view are we really being convinced of or represented?
These are important questions that you need to be asking yourself, because just like the childhood game of “Telephone” a simple message can quickly become very misconstrued and result in what we all hear way to often.
“That’s not what I meant!”
So, for me this is about the issue of empowerment of actually giving individuals a voice, rather than taking that voice away and then speaking for them.
I wrote about this before and a few journalists responded that I must have had a bad experience… or something. As if I don’t trust a journalist to properly represent my point of view.
Let’s just say this… You don’t need a bad experience to see the rampage that media has taken upon the culture. Mass media has never been about creating better people and it’s not about giving people an opportunity to stand up and represent themselves.. with their own voices… in their own style.
Sure you might be a journalist and trying to do a good job and you might… but you can never tell someone’s story or represent another individuals point of view better than the actual individual could themselves.
Here is what I suggest you should be doing instead.
If you are in the media business, rather than continue to play “Telephone”, start implementing a social media model which allows for individuals to facilitate, conversation, stories, and interviews. Work to create engagement which brings about direct dialog and use models of media delivery which help individuals have an opportunity to share their own point of view with out editorial filters. For example setting up a community multi user blog, or hyperlocal news site.
Trust me on this, It’s way more interesting to hear someone tell their own story, first hand.
It’s the real gold that we are all after. What makes your locale so special and unique?
My mission with LocalsGuide is to provide a platform for the creation and delivery of media. People have a voice and they deserve an opportunity and venue through which to share it. If you like the idea and think you would want to do a LocalsGuide for your own town send me an email and tell me a little bit about yourself.