I am delighted to tell you that I’ve received a MacArthur Foundation grant at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism to start the News Innovation Project. Its first work will be to hold a meeting this fall to gather practitioners and best practices in networked journalism — cooperative, pro-am efforts to gather and share news.
So I would be grateful if you would leave comments here with examples of what you think is working in networked journalism: cooperative efforts by local newspapers and TV stations, new ventures that enable the community to gather news, people who do this well, and tools that are working. I’m working with David Cohn, who covered this topic in the blog at Jay Rosen’s NewAssignment.net. Thanks to him, we have a pretty good list of what’s happening. But, of course, there’s more going on than, we know, so please pass the word and clue us in.
When I first applied for this grant, my goal was to evangelize the idea of networked journalism (nee citizen journalism). But in the meantime, we’ve seen such a blossoming of these efforts that we now believe the best contribution we can make is to share and extend best practices.
Before everyone gets here for the meeting, David will have written up reports on what these practitioners have done. That, of course, will be on the web for all to read and add to. This way, we can dig right in during the meeting and quiz some of these practitioners — each representing different sorts of efforts — on what works and what doesn’t and what they need to do what they do better (including what others in the room can offer them). At the end of the day, I hope to lock folks in rooms — bloggers with newspaper people, newspaper people with new ventures — and not let them out without returning with new things to do together, ways to push toward new experiments. And then David will followup and report on those efforts after everyone leaves and gets to work.
The reason for all this is that I firmly believe that networked journalism is one — not the only but one — answer to the question of how journalism can be sustained even as the old business models of news and media shrink and shift. We also believe that technology and networking now allow us to join together as never before to gather more news, cover more parts of our communities, involve more people, even investigate investigate deeper. This isn’t about saving journalism. It’s about growing journalism.
The second effort of the News Innovation Project will be to hold another session on new business models for news. More on that later.
Unfortunately, our space — physical space — will be limited at the school. So I don’t think I’ll be able to open this to all comers. Of course, I wish we could. But we will do everything online: before, during, and after. And we’ll do everything we can to bring in everyone’s wisdom, experience, questions, and help wherever they are.
So please let me know who you think is doing great things in networked, cooperative, pro-am, innovative journalism.
I’ll send you to a web site as soon as we have more details. Thanks. (And thanks to John Bracken and MacArthur.)