The Guardian Embraces Crowdsourcing The News In Useful Ways

from the supply-the-data... dept

Some old school newspaper folks bristle at the whole concept of "participatory journalism" but that's generally because they don't understand it, and think it just means that reporters will be out of a job and a bunch of amateurs will pretend they're reporters. But that's not what real participatory journalism is about. The Guardian recently gave a really good example. Following the recent controversy over expense claims from UK elected officials, the paper put all the data online and let people dig through it to see what they could find -- and they found a lot of interesting stuff that a group of reporters, by themselves almost certainly never would have had the time or skill to dig out (some of it included statistical analysis of the data). But, then, of course the "professionals" were able to take those interesting nuggets and do additional reporting. This is a perfect example of why some folks have been pushing for years to get newspapers to open up their data sources for the community to make use of. Hopefully the Guardian's success with this project will inspire others -- but I fear most "old school" newspaper folks will continue to sneer at the suggestion.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2009 @ 6:39am

    " Guardian Embraces Crowdsourcing The News"

    Actually, no, they aren't crowdsourcing the news. A very misleading title.

    What they are crowdsourcing is reading through a huge pile of documents that they would never have time to do, looking to CREATE news where no news currently exists. They are just hiring (for free) thousands of people to read through the documents and note stuff). They are doing what is often the worst thing in politcs, searching for "gotchas" to embarrass sitting members of the government. It's pretty much an organized witch hunt. They are just getting together a virtual "unruly mob with sticks" to go beat up the local witches.

    Again, this will be a great story to link to later saying things like "newspapers have embraced crowdsourcing". WTG Mike!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Matt Tate (profile), 24 Jun 2009 @ 7:53am


      Wait, so they had a bunch of volunteers sift through enormous amounts of documents to make something useful, for free? I'm no scientist, but that sure sounds to me like crowdsourcing. Maybe you could enlighten me to the differences?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2009 @ 9:27am

        Re: Re:

        They crowdsourced - but they didn't crowdsource the news! it's a very big difference (and one that Mike is trying to blur, so that he can use this post as a link later!)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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