Reporter Matchmaking: New Journalism At Work

from the not-the-old-ways dept

While we still hear some traditional journalists whining and complaining about the dying journalism field, it’s really exciting to see those who aren’t paying attention to that working hard on reinventing journalism in a way that works. We already wrote about how the Planet Money team at NPR spent their own money to buy a toxic asset to learn more about how it worked, and now Clay Shirky points us to another, similar, experiment from new journalism operation ProPublica. In reporting on the mortgage modification story (which is a big, but vastly underreported story), ProPublica is acting as a matchmaker, connecting struggling homeowners with local reporters in order to have their stories told.

As with the reporters buying the toxic asset, it’s about getting past the old “he said/she said” style of reporting, and digging deep by actually getting involved in the story. And, it nicely balances out away from pure “citizen journalism” where the participants do the reporting themselves. Instead, it recognizes that there are times when it’s useful to have a professional help tell the participants’ story — but in a situation like this, where there are so many participants, there previously wouldn’t have been a really effective way to tell that story. You could possibly do a survey, but those are often misleading, and don’t go very deep. But by reaching out and teaming up lots of homeowners going through this process with lots of reporters, you create a potentially really interesting and deep set of news stories about an important topic.

Journalism isn’t dying. It’s just evolving.

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Companies: propublica

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Comments on “Reporter Matchmaking: New Journalism At Work”

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Lyle says:

But in some areas there are to many journalists

Look at the gaggle at White House events, or even the press briefings, probably only need about 10 to 20 for the white house. Just like the NY Times could save if it published the same paper as the globe and the times, but added a local/state section for each. Then you don’t need duplicate staff in anywhere. Another example is look at the circus about any major trail where every local station thinks it needs its truck and reporter on scene. Maybe financial crisis will downsize the feeding frenzy.

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