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Make Money as a Citizen Journalism Writer

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 23 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
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Citizens Journalism websites have been in existence for a few years as a tool to obtain news stories from the public. Many of these websites now offer their writers the opportunity to make money from the content they submit.

What is a Citizen Journalist?

As the name implies, a citizen journalist is a member of the public with a story to tell. This story could come from a member of the public who was actually involved in an incident that was covered by actual newspapers. It could also be that a citizen journalist has read another news article and wants to voice their opinion on the story. Citizen journalism is usually undertaken by members of the public with no actual journalist credentials although not always. The point of citizen journalism is to give the ‘man or woman on the street’ a chance to have their voice heard.

Does Citizen Journalism only Focus on News Stories?

The main concept of citizen journalism was focused on new stories but this is no longer the case. Many citizen journalism websites have now expanded to include opinion pieces, short stories, poetry, film and entertainment reviews and business articles. Expanding on the original concept means the websites will receive more content. This does help to keep citizen journalism websites running as most of the money used to run the sites does come from advertising.

Can Writers Make Money From Citizen Journalism Websites?

To attract more writers, and more content, many citizen journalism websites have implemented pay schemes. Some websites such as Broowaha allow writers to add Google adverts onto their articles to make money from page views, or when advert is clicked upon. Other websites such as All Voices have other pay schemes implemented where writers are rewarded if they reach a certain level in page views.

Can Writers Reach A Decent Level Of Income Through Citizen Journalism?

How much money a writer can make using citizen journalism websites is debatable. A great many writers use these sites to publish writing without cuts from editors and to simply tell their stories. There are ways that can increase page views and increase revenue. Amassing a great number of followers, people who read a certain writer’s work, will increase page views. Writing articles on ‘hot topics’ that will interest people, and using search engine optimisation (SEO) to draw traffic to the articles can also help.

Does More Articles Mean More Page Views?

The more articles a writer has on a citizen journalism site the more chance there is of page views increasing. This is basically passive income where the write publishes an article and the page views will increase for as long as the article is live on the website. Anyone who is looking for an article on a certain topic can type in keywords into a search engine. This may result in the web user being directed to the citizen journalism article. But the quality of the articles may also have a direct bearing on whether the writer does gain a following that can increase page views.

What Other Ways Are There To Increase Page Views?

Anyone who has published articles on citizen journalism sites will be able to see page view statistics for each article. By reading the individual page views the writer can tell which articles are the most popular and are of most interest to readers. Focussing on certain topics can increase page views. For example, relationship issues are one of the most highly read article subjects on citizen journalism websites. Anyone who can write well on this topic can significantly increase their page view numbers as opposed to writers who stick to niche subjects.

Can I Advertise My Articles On Other Websites?

One excellent way to increase page views is to advertise published articles using social networking sites. A writer who has many friends on Facebook or Myspace can easily increase their page views by posting a link to the citizen journalism article. Asking friends to also post the link on their social networking page can then increase the number of pages views even further. Placing article links in national newspaper comment sections, if the article is relevant to the newspaper article, can also increase page views.

Can I Place Articles On More Than One Citizen Journalism Website?

In most cases the writer will own the copyright to their articles. This means they are free to place the articles on many different citizen journalism websites at the same time. The writer’s ability to create ways to achieve higher readership will pay dividends when it comes to increasing page views.

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