I don’t want Joe Anybody writing my news

So citizen journalism site NowPublic has received over $10 million in financing. Good for them.

I’ve always been a bit hesitant about these user-generated news sites. On one hand, they represent an unlimited potential for news gathering, where everyone and anyone can be a reporter. On the other hand, everyone and anyone is also an editor, which means news judgment is left potentially to the lowest common denominator.

This leads to things like navel-gazing, navel-gazing analysis, political mudslinging and Fark-like crap masquerading as news. Add in a few rewritten press releases and stories about missing white girls and you have everything that’s wrong with mainstream media in a nutshell (at least according to Drew Curtis).

I admit, part of my hesitation is also self-serving. As a freelance journalist, if Joe Anybodies can put together stories for free, there’s not much incentive for budget-conscious newspaper owners to hire professionals.

And these websites are new. It’s a budding concept which needs time to grow before it can be thoroughly evaluated.

But I just don’t see how they’re going to get over the problem that the crap-loving, special-interest public will tend to dominate over real, fair, honest news.

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