Digital Journal: A Citizen Journalism Site
Revenue Share Site Offers Payment From Shared Earnings Pool
Digital Journal is one of the many sites that promote citizen journalism as a way to promote online revenue sharing and to build content for websites. Members of Digital Journal sign up to contribute news stories or blogs to the site in exchange for a share of the revenue generated by the pages they write.
Getting Paid to Write News Online: Revenue Share
The site began in 1998 and was a technology news website until its transformation into a citizen journalism site in 2006. Digital Journal says that it offers members a way to contribute news stories and to earn revenue share income in the process. Members who contribute news are given the title "Digital Journalist" and are paid when their earnings reach $10 or more. Payments are in U.S. dollars and are paid via PayPal.
The Digital Journal revenue sharing model is based on the number of page views that the content receives as well as how many votes it gets from readers. The revenue share earnings are higher for contributed news articles than for other types of content.
There are also bonuses offered for some articles. The online revenue share that participating members receive comes from earning shares of a single pool of money that all Digital Journalists compete for.
It Pays, But Is It Really Citizen Journalism?
Like many citizen journalism sites, many of the news stories written by members of the site are simply rewritten news stories from sites that sport original journalism. They don't contain original interviews and aren't the result of investigating an issue.
Unlike the original spirit of citizen journalism, Digital Journal doesn't focus on stories that don't make it to the mainstream media but instead often prints stories that were already written by journalists. Quotes obtained by journalists are reproduced and original pictures and video are not required.
Citizen journalism began as a way to allow eyewitnesses to events report on them so that there was more than one view of the event. It is also useful for bringing to light stories that the mainstream media may be ignoring for various reasons. It is not, by definition, a rewording of a journalists words on order to make money from that journalist's efforts.
Sites like Yahoo! Voices have suspended their payments for reworded news articles on the grounds of plagiarism. They instead pay for news stories that are gathered by the writer of the article or those that have opinion or other writer contributions added to the story. Digital Journal does pay its members more if they conduct interviews or have an eye-witness angle to the story.
Real citizen journalists go out and investigate a story, or they happen to be present for a story that unfolds. They do not plagiarize from trained journalists. Sites that encourage plagiarism only work to confuse the public about what citizen journalism really is.