OJR has a great exploration of the disconnects in Dan Gillmor’s Bayosphere project. Bayophere was an attempt to enage citizen journalists to chronicle their region using blogs and other community technology.
Main problem: it wasn’t by, for and about the Bay Area. Post were off-topic, and like much blogging, techie influenced.
During its seven months in existence, Bayosphere ran about 400 news items, but few of them dealt with events or happenings in San Francisco or Oakland or the other communities comprising the area.
The analysis contends that the success of many citizen journalism projects (such as Brattleboro, Vt., Westport, Conn., or Bluffton, S.C.) succeed specifically because they were hyper-focused. Or in marketese: micro-niched. These sites captured the true flavor of cities – not regions.
It is going to be an iterative cycle. Each round we get more non-techies trained in these technologies – and it gets more exciting, diverse and terrifically cacophonous each time.