The Daily Mirror carries an advertisement today to elicit photos shot by citizen journalists called “Informant”. Despite the growing challenges to media in general and citizen journalism in particular, it’s heartening to see traditional media (finally) in Sri Lanka waking up the potential of mobile phone totting citizens as first witnesses of certain events.
As an aside, Daily Mirror’s website is the most technically evolved of all print media in Sri Lanka, offering things like RSS feeds which no one else does. A banner ad at the time of writing claims that the site gets 2 million hits a day, which is not really a useful metric to determine how many people read the content on the site, but I don’t doubt for a moment that thousands visit their site a day. Nothing much in the way of citizen generated content yet, but this should change in the future if “Informants” is successful.
Their blogging centre however is an unmitigated disaster – it looks a complete mess and the content is a jarring combination of Daily Mirror Editorials and individuals pitching in with their thoughts. The website itself has other flaws – the fonts and font sizes are terrible, the layout is atrocious, you cannot print anything easily and just try visiting the archives and then going to any other page (after a few visits to the archive it gets really fun).
Doesn’t anyone visit the NY Times website and learn about how it’s really done? More importantly, doesn’t anyone in the Daily Mirror actually visit their site?