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Log In / Register | Jun 25, 2018

Criticisms of Citizen Journalism

Blue MauMau is approaching its third anniversary on November 4. As editor, that puts me in a reflective mood of what this news site can do to become a better news journal and community.

The site is free. But for it to properly work, each reader needs to participate and share their experiences. We will do the rest to make sure that you get a lot more information and a higher quality news than you put in.

In the spirit of transparency, let me list four major criticisms Blue MauMau receives regarding our site's information and news content. 

Criticism #1. Blue MauMau allows anonymous guest postings, and those guests are critical. - Franchisor

Nope. Not entirely. Anonymous posters cannot report news stories and they cannot contribute blogs. Anonymous guests can only post in the forum discussions and comments under the articles.  

Such public comments, if they are critical, are something that drives some franchisors crazy.

Allowing anonymous postings is typical for the Internet. My local paper has allowed its readers to post anonymously for years. BusinessWeek recently moved to allow public comments under its articles. One notable exception to this rule is The Wall Street Journal, which still insists on subscribers using their real names to post.

One wonders how long the Journal's practice will hold on the Internet.

Some franchisors may deal very harshly with a known franchise owner, who posts an unflattering remark about their franchise system.That is why being anonymous is  important to an honest dialog on the investment worthiness of a franchise concept.

Criticism #2: Content is posted freely by anyone so Blue MauMau's news can be unreliable. - Industry Leader

Blue MauMau's news is only published by reporters and deputized members. Each article goes through an editing process.

Stories are written with the thought that our target audience are franchise owners and investors.

Our reporters strive to provide more than one side of a story. It should be noted that sometimes the other side does not want to respond.

In addition, Blue MauMau strives to provide supporting documents. That way the reader can click on the same word document that went out to an employee or franchisee. This is something that the Internet easily can offer but that other trade publications do not provide.

Criticism #3. Blue MauMau is tough to write for. Its members and guests are quickly able to find weaknesses in my article. I'm not used to that. - Trade Journalist

Some reporters who write for well-known journals have told me how difficult it is to write an article for Blue MauMau because they aren’t used to the level of scrutiny that Blue MauMau members deliver to its articles. Flaws or inconsistencies are found out by some brilliant readers. What that means is if an article declares a bubble of beliefs without hard evidence and credibility, the flaw, and sometimes the author, will quickly be called out.

Some authors and leaders can become angry when their statements and franchise beliefs are challenged in public comments.

Criticism #4: Blue MauMau does not cover the franchise issues of my industry and franchise system well. - Franchise Owner

Ah, this is a big concern for me as well. We are a news and information model based on citizen journalism, people who write for free on what they know and see. Without citizen participation, the site becomes blind to that franchise system and specific sector.

What I am saying is just as you get the government you deserve so do you get the investment news you deserve.

For example, Blue MauMau has connections with a number of world-class experts and leaders in the quick print industry who could provide insights into questions like -- Where is the quick print industry going? What systems have the most profitable franchisees?  Are the reported numbers real? Who has some of the worst franchise agreements? What models are working best?

Quick print franchisees initiate the news process by first showing interest and contributing. That allows the editor to use publishing tools to leverage their comments. And where franchisees post, Blue MauMau's reporters and members can help bring in world-class experts and  franchisor leaders to follow. A dialog begins to take shape. New investment information and important news stories that are not covered elsewhere can be more fully developed.

As a result, quick print franchise investors will be much more informed than when they started, all because they contributed a small drop of information or a question that begat a river of answers. 

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Mr. Blue MauMau's my name and speaking on behalf of franchise buyers and owners in this patch of reef is my game. I'm a fish that sports glasses, a bow tie and a serious attitude of wanting to know the truth when it comes to anything about franchises.

You can reach the editor at editor@bluemaumau.org or call +1 (270) 321-1268.