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Publishing & Media

Using 'citizen reporters', this online-only South Korean newspaper is a massive hit.

No one wants to read papers online. Or so many of the old school news publishers still want us to believe, even after years of non-stop growth in the number of potential online readers. Well, South Korea’s internet newspaper OhMyNews is proving these ‘dinosaurs in digital denial’ wrong, with a vengeance. In a country where close to 70% of all households subscribe to a broadband internet service (source: Morgan Stanley), and where next generation cell phones are as widespread as last-generation phones in the U.S., three-year old OhMyNews is getting 14 million pageviews a day, with 1-3 million active readers a day. The big twist: OhMyNews uses 26,000 ‘citizen reporters’, who send in stories and pictures, which make up 80% of all content. And it is all done online, 24/7. OhMyNews pays up to $20 per article, though for many citizen reporters, getting their name in the paper is the real reward. Facts are checked by a staff of 40. Fiercely outspoken, OhMyNews has successfully challenged the traditionally conservative press in South Korea. In fact, the online newspaper has already been credited with having swung a presidential election, and influencing the government’s stance on the North Korea issue. So much for paper! 😉


Now let’s see which other ‘young’ democracies will succumb to new online papers the moment internet access becomes ubiquitous amongst younger generations. Equally interesting, with start-up costs so low, the OhMyNews phenomenon should aspire to many ambitious ‘new style’ publishing moguls in tired democracies, too! Everybody is online, which means plenty of readers and citizen reporters. Will the new Turner or Murdoch please get up?


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