Wendy Norris is a 2010-11 Stanford Knight Fellow and is developing an online civic engagement app for public policy-focused news stories.
She began her award-winning investigative journalism career blogging under the nom de plume "em dash."
She has since reported on the sex, politics and religion beat for RH Reality Check, Ms. Magazine, Religion Dispatches, the Rocky Mountain Chronicle and The Colorado Independent where she also served as state editor. In 2009, Wendy launched Western Citizen.com, an online magazine that covers political and cultural news in the Rocky Mountain West.
Wendy is among the first progressive political bloggers to make the successful career transition to journalism. She has been the recipient of an H.F. Guggenheim Fellowship at CUNY-John Jay College's Center for Media, Crime and Justice for an investigation of right wing domestic terrorism at women's clinics and two Knight Digital Media Center fellowships. The first was focused on news entrepreneurism at the USC-Annenberg School for Communications and the other on multimedia studies at the UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
She is a frequent speaker on social media, community engagement and emerging news technologies.
Another easy remedy is for editors to encourage/model/require reporters to wade into online comments to respond to reader questions and tips. Likewise, broadcast journalists, could set aside a :60 next day segment to respond on air to questions for future follow-up.
Seriously, it's not that hard to solve if one can get past the calcified notion of newsrooms as moat-encircled information gatekeepers isolated from its community.
I'm not convinced that a separate entity should be tackling follow-ups/updates as it's a responsibility of the original reporter. Nor is there a clear revenue model for this type of service.
While some stories could be fairly easily extended beyond the ludicrous and outdated 24-hour news cycle, investigative and enterprise reporting is often premised on tips, whistleblower information and non-public documents that would be difficult, if not impossible, to replicate as a third party.
And then there's always the risk of advancing a story that incites the media's frivolous copyright/fair use/hot news trigger finger.
I'd be more inclined to argue that providing news updates is a part of the larger editorial crisis in the news industry. What a great qualitative differentiator for a newsroom in today's media glut to provide interesting "where are they now?" pieces, interactive timelines and updates.
And since a girl can dream ... I'd add prominent corrections to news stories and clear public action steps on my wish list too since they're also important elements of the follow-up that rarely occur. Change.org is doing some of the latter with a third-party social action petition widget that pulls from news story keywords but it's pretty rudimentary.
Still the bigger public service here is to free the news industry from the artificial constraints of temporal news pegs that still heavily determine content. The scarcity of follow-up is an easily resolved tweak to a cludgy editorial direction and doesn't really appear to be a sound, revenue-generating enterprise opportunity.
Good grief. Gannett's announcement could only be more cringe-worthy if it also blamed bloggers and Craiglist for its slow motion descent into oblivion.
As an exclusively online investigative reporter this latest development in pulp-based irrelevancy saddens me for the abject lack of business vision for funding future journalism by companies with incredible networks and resources at their disposal.
Beyond online classifieds and goods/services review sites that should have been the domain of local newspapers, there's another revenue-generating barbarian at the gate.
Proctor and Gamble is pushing a pretty smart online coupon program for its products. Register your grocery store shopper's card on their website, check the P&G products you expect to buy and the savings upload to the register via the card at the time of purchase.
I'd imagine the customer data for intentional and actual sales that they're grabbing has got to be marketing gold. And yet one more example of rendering useless the Thursday and Sunday ad-laden papers (and, hallelujah, direct mail circulars too).
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