Posts about networkedjournalism

Should you choose to accept it….

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is up on NewAssignment.net. This is Jay Rosen’s inspiration brought to life. As he explains the question:

Can large groups of widely scattered people, working together voluntarily on the net, report on something happening in their world right now, and by dividing the work wisely tell the story more completely, while hitting high standards in truth, accuracy and free expression?
If they can, this would matter.

I think they actually bit off a big bite for their first story, their assignment zero, because it’s more qualitative than quantitative, more about interviews and views than numbers and facts. They’re going to assess the impact of crowdsourcing. That comes, I suspect, from the influence of Wired, which was first step up for a joint project. I think the results will be fascinating but also challenging as they figure out how do — and this is Jay’s key inspiration — cut up a story into its elemental bits of reporting and assign those out. Jay again:

We’re going to investigate the growth and spread of crowdsourcing, which overlaps with something called peer production. (Yochai Benkler’s complete term is “commons-based peer production.”) This basically means people making valuable stuff by cooperating online, mainly because they want to and sometimes because they’re paid to assist. . . .

While the geeks invented such practices, first with free software, then with open source, they long ago lost control of them; and today crowdsourcing is on the rise across a wide social landscape, from corporate America and government to arts and crafts. Wikipedia calls this open-source culture.

Collaboration in the open-source diaspora and why it works when it does (plus what it can’t do …), that’s a sprawling and nuanced story with lots of locations. It lies in pieces — and in people who know the practices. There’s also a little mystery at the core of it: Why are these people willing to work for free?

Nuanced, indeed. That’s not as easy an exercise in networked journalism as, say, comparing prices for drugs across the country, one of the early examples thrown out for NewAssignment, or comparing companies’ family policies. But they didn’t go for easy out of the gate. That will make the process as fascinating to watch as the story.

So go dig in. Take an assignment. Pick up your notebook and get out of the newsroom.

Now this is a valuable community

Reuters starts a MySpace for stock-pickers. Said Reuters head Tom Glocer: “It won’t have the latest hot videos and the ‘why I am into Metallica and the Arctic Monkeys’ blogs. Instead we are going to give our financial services users the ability to post their research or if they are traders, their trading models.” It’s a great move. Pity that other brands with communities already buzzing around them didn’t come to this first: The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Business Week, CNBC, and on and on. They already have the people gathered around, interested in stocks; they have the wise crowd and the magnet that draws them. When I say that magazines and other media brands should be opening the windows and enabling the people to talk through them to each other to gather and share what they want, this is what I mean. Good on Reuters.

The real networked journalism

Bakersfield’s collaborative pothole map. [via Squared]

Covered like a blanket

Jane Hamscher of Firedoglake tells the story of Plame House and their LiveLibbyBlogging on video.

Journalists in the same pot

Springwise reports on the mixing of pro and amateur journalism at a Danish free paper’s site:

A new spotting just came in from Denmark, where free daily newspaper Nyhedsavisen is merging citizen journalism with its traditional counterpart. Bloggers and other citizen journalists have access to Avisen.dk‘s homepage, where their stories are published alongside articles written by the newspaper’s editorial staff. Pros and amateurs compete for top positions in the ‘most read’ and ‘most debated’ sections.

To contribute, ‘Læserskribenter’ (roughly translated as reader-writers) create a profile on Avisen.dk and set up a blog on the website. Whether a user-generated piece makes it to the homepage, is determined by its popularity. Putting pro journalists and citizen journalists on equal footing is an interesting way to bridge the divide between traditional media and user-generated media. The next step, of course, is to financially reward top contributors, which Avisen doesn’t seem to be doing.