Traditional media to embrace citizen journalism?

Sharing photos, audio and video is hot. Every week, new tools are made available to make sharing videos online easier. Recently, the Flemish Radio- and Television Network (VRT) started using Drupal for 16+, an online community that allows students to share pictures, music and video. The written press touted it as the "Flemish YouTube". For details, see my older blog post on 16+.

This afternoon, I'll have a meeting with the VRT to talk about Drupal and 16+. While preparing my presentation I started wondering: why would a traditional radio- and television broadcast company like the VRT encourage people to share pictures, audio and video? Is the VRT preparing the ground and developing a platform for citizen journalism? Would the VRT dare to upset their "professional journalists" and embrace journalism practiced "by the people"? Will they open up the scope and target audience of 16+?

I don't know, but I'm going to tell them that traditional media has no choice but to move forward. I spent the last 5 years of my life developing software that enables individuals to publish and share content on the internet. Soon, amateur content providers will have very powerful tools to compete with traditional media. I'm going to tell them that we are reshaping the future of news, information and journalism, and that, if they want to avoid getting left behind, they have to position themselves at the forefront of citizen journalism, take part in it, collaborate with amateurs, and embrace new internet technologies.

Could be an interesting afternoon ...

VRT using Drupal

The Flemish Radio- and Television Network (VRT) uses Drupal for 16+, a community website to accompany one of the television programs they broadcast. The website allows people to upload and share pictures, music and video. Belgian newspaper De Standaard described 16+ as the "Flemish YouTube". Belgian newspaper De Morgen refers to it as being an "online community".

16plus de standaard
© De Standaard
16plus de morgen
© De Morgen

Development of the website was coordinated by the Interdisciplinary institute for BroadBand Technology (IBBT), a research institute founded by the Flemish government. Next week I'll meet some of the people behind 16+ and IBBT as I committed to giving them a short Drupal presentation.

16plus screenshot
A screenshot of the 16+ website.