Citizen Journalism & MeriNews, the first Indian participatory media platform, is only a month-and-a-half old, but it has already covered the issues of national importance very well. The debate over reservation for the Other Backward Classes in central educational institutions and the controversy over the novelist Kaavya Viswanathan’s alleged plagiarism rocked India recently. merinews explored many nuances of these issues, many of which were not covered by the conventional media. The unique aspect of this coverage – which also justifies the concept behind merinews – is that citizen journalists and the public-spirited scholars created most of its content.

The main concept behind merinews is to provide a dais which is open to individuals from diverse backgrounds from all over India and abroad to voice their concerns that touch their lives. merinews throws important issues open to public scrutiny. The citizen journalist then contributes news, analysis, interviews, pictures, etc. on them to share it with the concerned reader.  

In the last few years the Internet has grown as a democratic knowledge-sharing medium. The Internet communities have developed encyclopaedia, dictionaries, music, operating systems, cultural projects, etc. through collaboration in cyberspace. But, not much has happened in the field of news. The news-generation activity is still seen as the work of a close-knit team of journalists. wants to fill this space in the Indian media and take the Indian Internet community towards citizen journalism, where people write news and analysis right from where they see the action.

Currently, merinews offers a diverse set of categories for citizen journalists from different fields. They can contribute news, features, interviews, pictures, news analysis, book and film reviews, etc. The life of a contribution can be very small in the case of news or very long for other kinds of articles. The reader can comment on all articles, and they are uploaded as soon as they are made. merinews tries to upload all contributions within a day of receiving them from contributors. It also puts all content in user-friendly searchable archive, which is always free for the reader.

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