Patrick points out some thoughts going around about “citizen media”, the concept of “crowdsourcing” news gathering the way Wikipedia crowdsources the writing and editing of an encyclopedia. A Wired piece on Assignment Zero and a reaction to that piece, plus a general assessment of citizen journalism.
The real thinkers are starting to understand how open journalism will and will not work. It will change the way news is gathered in this world, but it won’t replace journalists or big media, nor will it give companies an easy way to save money they would have spent on journalists.
The last link above has an important point: experimenting is cheap, and as more experiments like Assignment Zero succeed and fail, natural selection will eventually give us something that really works. Another Wikipedia or YouTube.
Until then, hopefully I’ll still be able to earn a living.
Oddly…if you look at the participants who worked on completed stories for Assignment Zero, you’ll find some active journalists, a retired journalist or two, some journalists-now-professors, some journalism students, some freelance journalists….but very, very few average schmoes.
And, there was more to AZ than just producing articles. A great deal of community organizing, motivating, and communicating went into the project–far more than mentioned in the Wired article.