from the connecting-with-your-community dept
Earlier this year, I wrote about how too many newspapers thought that adding "community" just meant putting comments
on stories. That's not really engaging the community, though. While we've seen a few examples
of newspapers doing a better job of really engaging communities, this new story out of Belgium may be one of the best examples so far. A reporter for a newspaper there, De Tijd, had been experimenting with some live blogging solutions, and decided to basically liveblog an editorial meeting
where the paper decided how to cover a developing chapter in the financial crisis. While some others in the editorial meeting were nervous about "opening up" their editorial process, it actually was quite useful.
The wider community contributed plenty of useful feedback both on what they hoped the newspaper would cover (which was different than what the editors originally planned to cover), but also in providing more details about what was really important. It gave the journalists there much more insight into the real
story, rather than the usual shallow coverage that often comes out of newspaper reporting on a sudden crisis (for example, recognizing that interbank lending -- or the lack thereof -- was a much bigger story than a collapsing stock market). It became truly interactive, with various journalists bouncing ideas off of the community and getting a lot of real time feedback to create a much better product.
Even more interesting was that after the reporter shut down the live chat, many in the group simply organized themselves into an IRC chat room and continued the conversation themselves. It's a fascinating story of how a newspaper embraced an actual community, rather than simply thinking that community was something you add on as a module at the end of the "real journalism."