“Citizen journalism works”

So says Magnus Ljungkvist, who is credited with digging out information that helped bring down the minister of trade in the new Swedish government, Maria Borelius.

What Ljungkvist did was fairly simple but often ignored – the legwork of a good journalist. He documented Borelius’ and her family’s income during the 1990s and contrasted this with her claim that she at that time couldn’t afford to pay a cleaning woman “white”, with the proper payroll taxes.

Reflecting on his own role, Ljungkvist writes that “the political blogs in Sweden are almost without exception a kind of private leading article page where the news is commented upon”. He wrote like that himself, but after a while he wanted to try something else, and he was actually more interested in working on different perspectives to stories than to jump into investigative journalism. But then he got the idea for the Borelius story. He concludes:

…citizen journalism works. I think I can dare to state that today. The blogosphere can be both fast and thorough. In addition to that we have good opportunities in Sweden with the fantastic public information act which makes it possible to gain access to important information from government without having a press card… What we citizen journalists can offer is maybe predominantly to investigate the power of the mainstream media.

The same media were very reluctant to give Ljungkvist credit for his work, whereas the response from bloggers were very encouraging and supportive. The blogosphere at its best.

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