Thursday, 5 June 2008

Blogging and citizen reporting

I've got to apologize for posting more in Bahasa Indonesia than in English lately. I know that would confuse readers. Some foreign friends were not interested in reading this blog because they think it is a blog in Bahasa Indonesia, while Indonesians thought this is a blog in English.

Frankly, I'm a bit confused about maintaining myself as a bridge blogger which would be more into citizen reporting, or just being a blogger. I've seen from my multiply blog that posts in Bahasa Indonesia gained more comments and new friends.

I think I understand now the meaning from Vincent Maher's statement about blogging. He said that blogging will be more rewarding for me in the long run. After the British Council Blogging Competition, there is another blog competition from Kijang. Both are expecting content and viewers. To gain readers here in Indonesia is easier if we blog in bahasa Indonesia.

I do prefer to have my whole ideas in one blog. I would like to be able to blog either in bahasa Indonesia or in English, or perhaps French (if I have the courage to upload my broken French he..he...he...), or the Makassar dialect?! And that would be nicer to have it in one pot...Maintaining my blog is the most difficult part as I do have a lot of other responsibilities.

One thing is clear for me. Being a citizen reporter help me to view "news" as "news", it helps me to know the different between news and opinion, and it helps me to gain a network of citizens who really care.

Viewing "news" as "news" means that there are activities that I consider routines, but actually would be seen as "news" for others. Blogging help me to dig into me, but citizen reporting is digging out from me to share it with others. We care more about our environment, more into others' point of views.

As a writer I am more into the opinion writer. When I wrote for mainstream media I did not care which category I would write, just wrote and sent it! It was proved that articles for newspapers came in the Opinion section. So I still need to increase my ability to write features.

Blogging is a lot more easier for me than reporting as it is more like writing my journals than collecting facts, interviewing people, and data search for reporting. I think balancing both of it will be very valuable for me to add in my writing experiences. But citizen reporting aspect made me more careful in uploading my blog, check and rechecking is important. It is not like writing my own journals which is private and would not hurt others' feeling (except if they peek into it he...he...he...)

Yesterday, a friend who is also a professional journalist joined Ohmynews International. I'm happy that he finally joins this international cit-J website. I think Mr. Oh Yeon-ho's view in building this international website is also to provide international journalists a place where they can stand equally. Communication of news between countries. Sometimes journalists from developing or small countries were not really taken into account. Perhaps it was not because they were not counted in, but mostly because there was no communication. Those who write locally can't always gain attention from the international readers. The online version will help distribute their views. At least that was my reason to link to local printed mainstream medias in my articles.

Mr. Oh stated in his speech for the 2nd International Citizen Reporters' Forum: "Writing a news story requires a good deal of time and consideration. It is much more difficult, for example, than leaving a comment or posting a blog entry. Though we are an open platform accessible to everyone, not everyone can write a news story. Only those citizen reporters who are passionately committed to social change and reporting make our project possible. The main reason that citizen journalism has not grown and spread more rapidly is the difficult task of finding and organizing these passionate citizen reporters in waiting."

Wikimu, the local Indonesian citizen journalism website I joined is combining it with the education to write. I have seen some readers who started only through comments, and then developed their courage to write. Some of them become regular contributors. I think that's a good leap!

Last year, on October 9, Mr. Oh accepted The Missouri School of Journalism's Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism in recognition of his pioneering work in engaging citizens as journalists for democracy. I think it is important to remember his remarks on his acceptance speech: ""The goal is not more information, the goal is a happier, more fulfilling life."

The international and global atmosphere in OMNI gives us a platform of being the citizen of the global world, regardless of our backgrounds. It would help to start communication between countries, and hopefully we are going to have better communication and a happier world. Good communication is the best tool to gain happier and better life, isn't it?

I've got time management problem in managing my daily routine. I think that was why some friends from OMNI did not want to have a blog. Maintaining a blog will be quite time consuming. Blog writing competitions could also distract our attention from important issues. But finding good topics could be another reward for us even if we do not win the competition. The British Council's intercultural dialogue has triggered a lot of writing ideas in my head. The problem is again...TIME!

I am going to continue blogging and reporting, I've made a minimum requirement once a month for OMNI (which reminding me of my absence in May) and whenever I feel the need for wikimu. For the time being I'm limiting myself into these two cit-J websites to gain enough time to concentrate on other tasks.


john cole said...

Retty, your blog is compelling. I hadn't visted it in awhile but am glad to have found it anew. What I enjoy the most is when you talk about yourself

Retty N. Hakim said...

I'm still trying to grab the meaning of blogging for me. As I started with mission to voice out a voice from Indonesia, I tried so hard to be very objective and avoid personal story. But it seems to me that the "personal" part is the interesting part of a blog to the eyes of readers.
Perhaps there would be more personal stories...
I'm still trying to have a good time management. Thanks for encouraging me!