November 6, 2006

Gannett steps into the future

It’s only right that Gannett should be the one to step into the future by 1) re-thinking the newsroom and 2) bringing citizens into the process. After all, it was Gannett that played a big role in damaging print journalism with the introduction of USA Today–the paper that convinced print it should be like TV. Perhaps this new “crowdsourcing” project will make up for that.

From the article in Wired:

The initiative emphasizes four goals: Prioritize local news over national news; publish more user-generated content; become 24-7 news operations, in which the newspapers do less and the websites do much more; and finally, use crowdsourcing methods to put readers to work as watchdogs, whistle-blowers and researchers in large, investigative features.

I like the sound of that. Now, what needs to happen is a re-thinking of the appliances that citizens will use to “read” and produce journalism. I’m thinking the computer and the home theater need to become a single appliance.

2 Responses

  1. I have mixed feelings about the transition period, since they are proposing using citizens to do what citizen-journalists have traditionally done – work. Was there any mention of compensation other than the “thrill” of a byline?

    After all, the “point” still seems to be keeping shareholders happy with profit.

    ah: “The compensation is usually far less than what an employee might make for performing the same service.”

    With the Fort Meyers sewer scandal they outline, it’s interesting to see people “getting excited” and involved, but it will be fun to watch the ebb and flow of that kind of involvement-interest.

    Also, editors are going to have a lot wider pool of talent and skill to comb through. You have to determine that your contributors are reliable and determine their biases.

    Also, the Lawrence Journal-World (Lawrence, Kan.) has had this kind of super-integrated “news” room for a while, with print and broadcast together and lots of citizen input.

  2. Tracy– You are quite right that there’s much to work out. And I too hope that this doesn’t simply become a way to save money on labor.