Monday, June 29, 2009

Crowd Source Newspapers

The Guardian Embraces Crowdsourcing The News In Useful Ways
from the supply-the-data... dept

Some old school newspaper folks bristle at the whole concept of "participatory journalism" but that's generally because they don't understand it, and think it just means that reporters will be out of a job and a bunch of amateurs will pretend they're reporters. But that's not what real participatory journalism is about. The Guardian recently gave a really good example. Following the recent controversy over expense claims from UK elected officials, the paper put all the data online and let people dig through it to see what they could find -- and they found a lot of interesting stuff that a group of reporters, by themselves almost certainly never would have had the time or skill to dig out (some of it included statistical analysis of the data). But, then, of course the "professionals" were able to take those interesting nuggets and do additional reporting. This is a perfect example of why some folks have been pushing for years to get newspapers to open up their data sources for the community to make use of. Hopefully the Guardian's success with this project will inspire others -- but I fear most "old school" newspaper folks will continue to sneer at the suggestion.
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