I first heard of OMNI at LIFT. Then I stumbled across the web site and I started reading some news. I have to say that this is the model I had in mind when posting and thinking about citizen journalism.
Going through the site it is clear the model of pushing the shift of the citizen’s involvement into news production and consumption. One passage in one of the articles of “about us” makes it crystal clear:
The traditional news model works something like this: An event happens; for example, a politician announces a new policy. The news media report it. The citizen reads, listens to, or watches what the news media have to say. And as far as the citizen goes, that is the extent of their involvement. If the medium concerned is a newspaper, then the citizen may have some very limited right of reply by, for example, writing a letter to the newspaper that has an extremely small chance of getting published. But in the traditional news model, the citizen is mostly a passive receptacle of somebody else’s ideas.
These kinds of services transform news from a passive experience into an active one. Instead of merely reading the news, the citizen reporter writes the news, too. This reflects on the level of implication of the citizen concerning the particular issue. It also compels questions that should be asked and answered.
Back at the beginning of my thesis I wrote something similar on the engagement of citizens on city life. There I was, with Nicolas Nova, suggesting a possible shift of engagement with technological solutions like the one of OMNI. Important questions arise from these shifts of controls that needs to be answered, like how to define trusts in such context and whether professional ‘etiquettes’ might apply.