Local news enthusiasts in Ferizaj have for some time now been enjoying an up-to-date coverage of their city’s happenings via an online news portal called Ferizaj Press. More often than not, it covers events before any major news sites get their hands on the local scoop. So how do they do it?
To find out, I spoke with Partin Imeri, a 22 years old student in Software Engineering at the University of Business Technology (UBT). Hailing from Ferizaj, he also happens to be the founder of Ferizaj Press.
“We’ve only launched in March of this year and on average we already get over 40,000 visitors a month with over 200,000 page views a month,” explains Partin while he proudly shows me Ferizaj Press’ analytic dashboard. But who is “we” I ask. The question refers to the innovative aspect of Ferizaj Press that gives it a competitive edge over more established and traditional news outlets. “We,” explains Partin, “are civil society; myself, my dad, and Ferizajlitë who seize every opportunity they can to capture news they stumble on and submit it to our news portal.”
Like Kallxo.com‘s corruption reporting system, Ferizaj Press is a platform that engages civil society into adopting an active role in generating up-to-date online content. For Ferizaj Press, this means that they freely receive an average of 9 submissions a day and many more newsworthy references. “What this means is that I only have to worry about fact-checking,” Partin remarks, “the news just comes to me on its own.”
By successfully crowdsourcing a lot of the heavy lifting involved in gathering data, sites like Kallxo.com and Ferizaj Press have demonstrated that citizen involvement is an invaluable resource, particularly when promoting transparency values while fighting for freedom of press or against corruption.