Borgerjournalist på JydskeVestkysten - mål eller middel

Kathrine Hesner & Friederike Naja Felbo

Student thesis: Master thesis


This report is a case study of a project recently launched by the Danish newspaper JydskeVestkysten. On the 8th of January 2008 the paper started a web based project with participatory journalism encouraging citizens to register as ‘citizen journalists’ the purpose being creating brand loyalty and increased income through advertising. The citizen journalists upload articles and pictures directly on the public and official website Then professional journalists select and to some extend edit some of the articles and then publish them in the newspaper JydskeVestkysten. We found it interesting to investigate a project in progress and wanted to do our study with a goal of ending up with different guidelines for improving the project of civic journalism. First we talked with the people involved in the project that is both journalist and the managing editor and the executive editor. In their opinion – how can civic journalism contribute to conventional news coverage, what was the ambition/reason behind the project and does it work so far? They explained that it was intended to establish a place for the papers readers to express themselves freely about anything in any way. During this first phase they have deliberately lowered their quality standards to get as many as possible to register – when the citizen could see that their work were acknowledged and rewarded because it got elected to be published in print is considered a great factor of motivation. The end product both online and on print was marred by many grammatical errors, strange and even unintelligible stories the reason primarily being that no resources had been spend on the project. It was up to each local editor to find the means necessary for the project to work. There was also an economic reason for them launching the project – more unique users equal more money from advertisers. We then decided to have a look at the product itself to determine what they write about, what is selected to the newspaper, what is not and why? We looked at and analysed articles from one week and ended up with 196 online and uncensored articles and 120 from the newspaper. In the end we wanted to investigate whether or not the ideology and ambition behind the project match the real thing. First we needed to categorise the articles to understand about what and how the civic journalists write. What we concluded from this was that the more an article looked like conventional journalism the more likely it was to be ‘upgraded’ to the printed version. So even if the citizen journalists are encouraged to write about anything in any way, it is not the case when you look at the outcome. Our investigation enabled us to provide JydskeVestkysten with several recommendations including more educated recourses, demand more information about each citizen registering, more categories for articles online, courses for the registered citizens and a policy for the project to streamline the outcome.

EducationsJournalism, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date4 Jul 2008
SupervisorsMichael Bruun Andersen


  • JydskeVestkysten
  • Borgerjournalistik