2020-06-03 12:34 KST  
Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
A Day in the Life of an OhmyNews Editor
Witnessing an historic point in the development of the newspaper
Claire George (aeogae)     Print Article 
Published 2006-11-19 12:03 (KST)   
©2006 Kwon W.S.
As soon as the alarm goes off I am out of bed. I feel muzzy headed in the mornings, probably because I don't drink enough water, but I'm an early bird.

If I have to go to the OhmyNews headquarters in downtown Seoul I set the alarm for 6 o'clock. I like to avoid the crowds on the subway and it's nice to spend some time with a paperback between getting off the train and starting work.

OMNI's New Approach to Citizen Journalism
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Technology Can Save Money, Planet
[Opinion] Iran Defends Peaceful 'Right'
Couchsurfing in Gaza
Happy 10th Birthday to OhmyNews
Questions for President Obama
New Media and the Challenge of Reporting on the UN
China Host To First 'Netizen Day'
How Citizen Journalism Changed My Life
Usually though I'm able to work at home or in my boyfriend's office. The OhmyNews International team is split between two continents so the Internet is our office space. We talk to each other with instant messengers, emails and voice programs like Skype. We even get the chance for a gossip. I don't think about the fact that we seldom see each other face to face.

When you're used to communicating over the Internet, words make people real.

On an average day then, I get up at 7:30. I would really like to go for a walk outside before starting work, but I'm often so curious about what's been happening on the Web site overnight that I lose time flicking through the message boards and checking the comments.

I like it when readers leave positive comments about stories. We get a lot of those but they're usually so short we can't put them in the "comment of the day" section.

If I'm working from home I try to answer emails, do a podcast or write an OhmyNews Brief before 9 o'clock. If I'm working in my boyfriend's office I spend that time traveling.

Yu-jin Chang, our U.S. editor, introduced the Briefs this summer. They're short pieces that focus on the most popular news stories of the moment. Some of my favorite Briefs are about medical research, particularly the ones that highlight the link between poor lifestyle choices and cancer. I think it's a public service to communicate that kind of information.

Once it's 9 o'clock it's time to begin editing stories. The citizen reporters' articles appear on the database as a long list of titles. Information is added to the side of each title to show team members who is editing a particular piece, whether it's been accepted or rejected, and whether we are holding it back for a few days for any reason.

If I'm unsure about a story I ask one of my senior colleagues for advice. We all have different strengths so sometimes they ask me things too. I must admit I enjoy that, I'm only human after all.

Before I joined OhmyNews I had no idea that editing was such an emotionally intense experience. In the course of a typical week I work on many different stories from around the world. We get everything from movie reviews to tales of rape and murder. As I edit I lose myself in the story, sometimes they even make me cry. The last time that happened was when I read Shekhar K.C.'s piece about the old man and the Nepalese peace deal.

The stories on this Web site have a lot of power. I was not a particularly political person before I began working for OhmyNews. However, after constant daily exposure to our citizen reporters' stories, I have finally recognized that, for the majority of the human race, life is a daily struggle for survival. I was also shocked to the core when I realized that women in many countries still do not enjoy equal rights.

A lot of citizen reporters are to a certain degree campaigners and activists. Some of our writers have gone on demonstrations and even to war zones to stand up for what they believe in, but that's not what I mean. I often edit stories on subjects that receive little or no coverage in the mainstream media. When reporters draw attention to those subjects they're doing the world a service. Stories must be told.

I think some people have a very narrow idea of what citizen journalism is. They think of it as investigative reporting by someone who is not a paid journalist. I think that's very limiting. Not all professional journalists are investigative reporters, some are art and literature specialists, restaurant critics, political commentators and so on. The same goes for citizen journalists.

The working day ends at any time between 6 and 8 o'clock. If I feel I haven't been productive enough I'll do a little bit of editing after my evening meal. However it's usually podcasting, which doesn't take long and doesn't feel like work.

I'm lucky to have such an interesting job, and it often amuses me how my life has a strange kind of symmetry. Before I joined OhmyNews I did a Ph.D on advertisements in London newspapers between 1660 and 1714. The first newspapers appeared long before 1660, but that particular period is very important in the history of the British press. There was an enormous expansion in the number of titles on the market. It was the dawn of the newspaper age.

Sometimes when I'm editing or doing something else on the Web site, I realize that my activities echo those of the printers and writers who worked on those newspapers so long ago. It's a strange feeling and I know I don't need to point out that we are also at an historic point in the development of the newspaper and the public sphere.

I think it's marvelous that a newspaper can rely almost entirely on non-professional journalists to fill its pages. If someone had told me that 15 years ago I wouldn't have believed them.

Before I go to bed I often do some housework and watch television. These days I'm trying to make the most of my time by also doing some writing of my own. You see, I've opened my eyes to what citizen journalism can do for me. Have you?
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Claire George

Add to :  Add to Del.icio.usDel.icio.us |  Add to Digg this Digg  |  Add to reddit reddit |  Add to Y! MyWeb Y! MyWeb

Ronda Hauben
Netizens Question Cause of Cheonan Tragedy
Michael Werbowski
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Michael Solis
Arizona's Immigration Bill and Korea
Yehonathan Tommer
Assassination in Dubai
[ESL/EFL Podcast] Saying No
Seventeenth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev...
  [ESL/EFL] Talking About Change
  [ESL/ EFL Podcast] Personal Finances
  [ESL/EFL] Buying and Selling
How worried are you about the H1N1 influenza virus?
  Very worried
  Somewhat worried
  Not yet
  Not at all
    * Vote to see the result.   
  copyright 1999 - 2020 ohmynews all rights reserved. internews@ohmynews.com Tel:+82-2-733-5505,5595(ext.125) Fax:+82-2-733-5011,5077