My.news24 launch embraces reader voices

2007-05-21 12:28
A new service has been launched on News24, South Africa's No 1 website, with all the content generated by users and members of the public.

My.news24.com features user content ranging from columns, feature essays, pictures, comments, debates and videos. Content is not uploaded directly but selected and published by editors to maintain the promise of quality.

"This is our most ambitious step toward truly giving the important opinions of our audience a genuine voice," said News24 editor, Jannie Momberg.

"Readers want to have an influence, contribute to context and share in an authoritative voice."

It has been a trend world-wide where users are moving away from the traditional consumption of news to a more participatory way of interacting with news providers. In the past News24 has published news pictures taken by users, but the launch of my.news24 will provide a dedicated channel where written and multi-media content submitted by users are highlighted.

"The result has been encouraging. Readers are submitting a wide range of quality content on a wide-ranging spectrum of topics from humorous columns to moving accounts of real life in South Africa. We honestly expected a litany of moans and groans but our readers have proven us wrong.

"We have also allocated a fixed spot on our homepage that was usually reserved as a key news position as a showing of our intent in this area.

"The launch of my.news24 is a first step into embracing user-generated content at News24. The service will be expanded and built on for the rest of the year to include more Web 2.0 features," said Momberg.

"The publishing model is changing. Technology is enabling a shift of voice. The old model is one directional. Newspapers tell people what is news and if readers are lucky they might get a letter published in print. The world has changed. News is about story-telling and I believe our readers have important stories to tell - and in their own words," said Elan Lohmann, News24 publisher.

"I believe in the profession of Journalism but in South Africa some of our users can do as good a job of writing something well considered and meaningful as people who get paid to do it. My.news24 has only just launched and this month we are set in to surpass the traffic in our popular columnist section. This is a result we never expected and intend to reward our readers for their efforts and guide them on good journalism values," said Lohmann.

My.news24 is available at my.news24 or via the News24 website.

News24 online at www.news24.com, on DStv Channel 59 and on mobile at m.24.com

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