All the World’s a Story: Wired 'Borrows' a Few Ideas from NowPublic
Journalism has always been a product of networks. A reporter receives an assignment, begins calling “sources” — people he or she knows or can find. More calls follow and, with luck and a deadline looming, the reporter will gain enough mastery of the topic to sit down at a keyboard and tell the world a story.
A new experiment wants to broaden the network to include readers and their sources. Assignment Zero (zero.newassignment.net/), a collaboration between Wired magazine and NewAssignment.Net, the experimental journalism site established by Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at New York University, intends to use not only the wisdom of the crowd, but their combined reporting efforts — an approach that has come to be called “crowdsourcing.”
The idea is to apply to journalism the same open-source model of Web-enabled collaboration that produced the operating system Linux, the Web browser Mozilla and the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
“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?” Professor Rosen asked last week on Wired.com.
Well, my first question is: hasn't anyone at the New York Times, Wired or NewAssignment.net heard about NowPublic?
NowPublic has already created a global network of contributors committed to "high standards in truth, accuracy, and free expression" -- and its members are actively shaping the site's development.
One of the most compelling aspects of participatory media is that individual contributors are now invested in the dual processes of creating content and helping to establish shared editorial visions. In the case of NowPublic, this work has even extended into defining what constitutes 'news' for the NP site. Members of 'crowd powered' communities not only engage in discussions about their work and the work of others, they also participate in a larger dialogue about what kind of stories they want to share and what kind of a community they want to create.
As buzzwords like "social media" and "citizen journalism" have become further embedded in the new media lexicon and thinking of major broadcasters and mainstream media -- many of whom are planning to, or have already launched, their own 2.0 initiatives -- it has become evident that there will be many more collaborative social media/news projects like AssignmentZero competing for (y)our attention and soliciting (y)our involvement in the future.
But community-based knowledge is only as good as the community that creates it.
Who, then, will participate in these emergent "crowdsourcing" projects? What kind of unique editorial perspectives will they offer and what kind of stories will they share?
And if all the world's a story, then perhaps the most important question becomes -- where will you tell yours?
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