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Digg to allow users to vote for many types of news“, Reuters wrote yesterday. The hype that is has reached a new height now that one of the most popular news recommendation sites will present version 3.0 on Monday. Reuters writes:

The upgraded, due out on Monday, threatens to further disrupt a professional news industry already reeling from the fragmentation of mass-market audiences, the rise of self-published blogs and rapid changes that have reshaped the advertising markets on which publishers have long depended.

Implicitly, all the news coverage about the new version of touches on the rise of citizen journalism. It’s no longer the editor, but the average web surfer who determines what’s hot and what’s not, what’s front page news and what belongs in the trash bin. And that’s where things start to get confusing, because that’s exactly what Digg is: a selection filter for news, not a one way ticket to the unemployment agency for journalists.

The rise of citizen journalism rests on a single premise: any monkey can be a journalist. And while I have to admit that I have worked with monkeys who called themselves journalists in the past, a good journalist tries to objectify his subject matter and combines the facts into a gripping story. And any story contains drama, it grips people, it leads them from one amazement into the next without losing their attention. This actually goes for newspapers, magazines, radio, television and also internet writing. And that’s where the rescue for the jobs of trained journalists comes in: it’s a profession that combines the intellectual with the intuitive, the objective with the opinionated, the digging with the ‘digging’. Citizen journalism will never overshadow professional journalists, because the trend is only seen by monkeys, not citizens or journalists.

Having said that, is a site worth visiting. As it turns out (and probably not to your surprise), citizens are quite good at picking out interesting stories from trustworthy news outlets, as Digg’s top 5 science stories at this very moment proves:

  1. Americans Lose Touch, Have Less Friends
  2. Gene therapy reverses Parkinson’s symptoms
  3. Charles Darwin’s tortoise dies
  4. Hubble telescope’s key camera stops working
  5. Sea lions and dolphins may join war games