Gannett, USA Today Wants Everyone To Write The News For Them
from the cheaper-this-way dept
We’ve been waiting for the newspaper industry to realize it needs to do more than just put their articles online and sell advertising, but figure out ways to better enhance their offering via adding features that were simply impossible without the internet. For example, recognize that rather than readers, many people are willing to be distributors of the news as well. Gannett, most well known as the publisher of USA Today and a bunch of other newspapers is now trying to do much more by better involving readers in writing the news as well. Obviously, the idea of citizen journalism has been discussed at length for a while, but perhaps not when it comes to a major newspaper chain. Gannett is reorganizing their news rooms to be more collaborative (something that should have happened long ago), but are also encouraging newsrooms to get the community involved in the reporting process as well.
The article discusses how one newspaper got a bunch of readers to help them investigate excessively high prices for water and sewer lines to new homes. Apparently, it generated a lot of interest, with various experts all coming together to dig out the real story. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily work in every case — and there are some risks involved. As you might expect, many of the reporters are skeptical, wondering if this is just a way to fire reporters and replace them with “free” labor. At the same time, others wonder if such citizen journalism efforts are really sustainable. After all, even the highly touted OhMyNews has discovered that it’s difficult to make money doing citizen journalism and the basic idea behind their site hasn’t worked well outside of Korea. Still, it certainly could be interesting to see this hybrid model that involves both professional reporters and interested readers, with the division of labor being split up depending on who is best suited to cover the situation. Of all the various newspaper experiments in the online world, this is definitely one that’s worth watching.