For my presentation, I chose to introduce the class to a website that I find to be a great use of citizen journalism. Rate Your Burn (www.rateyourburn.com) is a website devoted to reviewing fitness classes, instructors and studios in the Boston, New York and Los Angles areas. These reviews are collected from a variety of sources; community reviewers as well as Rate Your Burn’s freelance reviewers.
Community Reviews: anyone can post a review of a class on RYB by creating an account. The site’s measure of reliability of these sources is measured and reported as a way of showing readers who to trust. Every reviewer creates a username that he is known as throughout the site. From there, this user can create a post recapping and rating a class, instructor or studio.
All posts have the ability to be like and shared on Facebook, Twitter and email. The more likes, shares and views a post gets, the more points the author of the post is awarded. Authors or users who have a lot of points are well regarded and seen as trusted community sources on the site.
Staff Reporters: Not only are there community reviews posted on RYB, but there are also staff reviews. Staff reviewers are hand-picked fitness experts who will anonymously go out and review classes, instructors, and studios and then report back through posts RYB. These reviews are the most trusted of the site, and are based off of a reporting method.
Other posts: The site’s authors will also publish posts that are not review-based. There have been stories written by RYB reporters on in-depth interviews with fitness experts, serious health issues and features on the best equipment and gear. On these posts there is an open forum of commenting where the authors almost always respond to their readers.
Where the site excels is clearly in interacting with the community. It is a 100% reader engaged site and, I think, a perfect example of community journalism.
Where the site could use improvement is in posting more journalistic, expert-sourced articles, as opposed to reviews. I would love to see more articles that reference journals and experts on the effects of over-exercising, a healthy diet for active people or the effects of exercise on the brain. While there really isn’t a website or blog that competes with RYB in what they are aiming to do, for my more journalistic stories. One is The New York Times Fitness & Nutrition section. While these stories are less focused on fitness trends, they are extremely informative and are always taking new angles on fitness. I’ve linked to a few examples of multimedia and journalistic stories: exercise and children, H.I.T. video and weight training v. cardio exercise.