When is not being Open an option anymore?

 I checked out a new site, Demotix the Citizen Wire, last week as a friend came to see me hot from the BritDoc Fesitval full of enthusiasm about it, knowing about my interest in citizen’s journalism, documentaries, blogging and the future of digital media. 

 So I was very suprised indeed to find when I did look that there was nothing at all on the site to tell me who ran it, who the owners were and who was behind the scenes.  I put some feelers out to people who I would expect to know all there is to know about such developments, one inside the BBC who Twittered, (or should that be tweeted?) and posted to find the answer,  and one in the US – to find that at that time neither had heard of it, and one had the same questions as I.  How was I to know what to think about a site , which in this day and age of open credentials and transparency, did not publish the story of the people behind it and provide a way for people to get in touch with them.  They have impressive partners – but this seemingly simple omission might cause a person or organisation to wonder about their credentials and know how and whether to trust them.  So I called my friend and suggested gently that she call her friends. Anyway , perhaps as a result of this we have the answer: published on the Telegraph Blog last Friday.

Interestingly now the website publishes some links to discussion about this site and service in the magazine and daily press.  So now I am hunting around in online newspapers and magazines to find out who is who and what is what.  I find that the owner took the idea to the Telegraph Media Group who might be supporting it in some way.  Certainly their  Assistant editor, Justin Williams, posting about it on his personal blog is very enthusiastic (Why Demotix could be the biggest thing in World News). 

But even stranger I couldn’t find anything on Justin’s blog CounterValue to tell me his name except the picture link to Facebook which told me his name when I hovered over it.  Voila.  Surely things should not be so hard this day and age?

Is any of this important?  I think it is.  I could understand this silence if there were a good reason to do with protecting the identity and whereabouts of contributors – but if that’s the reason, please do tell us.  I am also left wondering whether it wouldn’t help them a great deal in the online space , not to mention the blogosphere if they did publish this info.  It looks like a really interesting project but at the moment they are not helping themselves in this respect.  I don’t think I have lost all sense of proportion here, have I?



Filed under Behind the Scenes, media literacy

3 responses to “When is not being Open an option anymore?

  1. Lucy,
    There really isn’t any secret. My role at the Telegraph is explained on the front page of CounterValue.


  2. Dear Lucy,
    I’m one of the co-founders of Demotix.com – thanks so much for the criticism here, and you are right, we SHOULD be more present.
    Coincidence has it that yesterday i posted all that info about us on my Telegraph blog.
    It’s here:
    But reading you here, and some comments from others too, we’re thinking of posting a link to the blog in the About Us Section of Demotix.com.
    I DO want to stay out of the limelight here because the site really isn’t about us. But point very well taken. Thanks for taking the time.
    All best!


  3. Hi Turi , Hi Justin – thanks for commenting – I think people like to have names, not just job titles. Knowing who is behind a project is not about taking the limelight for yourselves but about putting your name to your project and your story for people to find in order to be able to open dialogue with you and support you. I wasn’t suggesting secrecy in either case. Nor criticism – it’s more about a philosphophy or approach to your audiences and stakeholders. You could consider having your blog on your site like many new ventures, social enterprises and orgs.


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