Crowdsourcing? What’s that?

In Chapter 3 of Journalism Next, Briggs begins the chapter with a reference to Precision Journalism, a book written by Phil Meyer. He uses a quote from Meyers book that talks about how the ante has risen on what it takes to be a journalist. With budget cuts and less staff, journalists are having to do a lot more than they used to.

One thing he notes is that journalists are finding new ways to bring journalists closer to readers and vis versa. One way to do this is crowdsourcing.


He defines a couple terms as such:
crowdsourcing- focuses the community power of the internet on a specific project and demonstrates how a group of committed individuals can outperform some paid professionals
open-source reporting-
refers to design, development, and distribution offering practical accessibility to a product; this means using transparency in reporting to provide a benefit to your audience
pro-am journalism-
the most unfiltered form of journalism; posting directly to the same platform to publish news

Crowdsourcing in journalism is still a trial test run. They are seeing what works and what doesn’t- in order to keep up with the technology revolution. The issue with using the community for news is that citizens tend to stray away from journalistic methods to get stories. Most stories would be something you could “put in a scrapbook” and not actual newsworthy events.

Tools like Twitter and blogs have become really important to news stations because it brings readers closer to the news. Briggs doesn’t say that crowdsourcing will take over journalism, but surely helps in some aspects of the process.

“The change isn’t a shift from one kind of news institution to another,” Shirky wrote, “but rather in the definition of news: from news as an institutional prerogative to news as part of a communications ecosystem, occupied by a mix of formal organizations, informal collectives, and individuals.”
So Briggs raises the question of how do we use this to create better journalism?

Beatblogging is another idea that reporters can use to interact with the community. A website such as linkedin, Facebook, or Google Groups can be used to create a group based on a specific beat. The reporter would put together the story and people then facilitate discussion in the group and see what others are saying.

Towards the end of the chapter, Briggs talks about how print can still be important. He gives examples of websites that have used the power of the internet to create a community. They share stories that are written by the audience and the best materials are then used in a print version. The user generated content allows the audience to engage and become loyal to the site. The site owners also interact heavily within the community. They respond via email, text message, replies on the site, and even face to face.

This new layout is much more open to the free flow of information, which I like. It also allows for the audience to actually engage with the story and for the news stations to engage with their audience.


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