Off The Written Path

Exploring New Journalism

Off The Written Path

‘JournalismNext’ Chapter 3 Summary

February 14th, 2011 · No Comments · Journalism Next by Mark Briggs

“…The people formerly known as the audience…”

—Jay Rosen, New York University

It’s time for journalists to give up their high horses and join the crowd. That is the take away message from Chapter 3. Here Mark Briggs makes the point that collaborating with readers is essential in the new world of journalism.  Briggs says that journalists must eliminate the barrier which exists with their audience and embrace how technology can help them maximize that new openness. 

This new form of reporting, which heavily involves the audience, is an opportunity for wider coverage of issues that matter most to readers, Briggs suggests.   

There are three main ways in which the audience is becoming involved in journalism, according to Briggs:

Crowdsourcing: “Reporting based on the work of many people, including your readers,” says Dan Kennedy, media critic and instructor at Northeastern University.

  • Example: During the 2010 earthquake in Haiti people living through the aftermath uploaded emergency reports to the site.

Open-source reporting: Making the reporting process transparent and encouraging feedback from readers by letting readers know the story you are working on.

  • Example: Finnish news website that posts story ideas and encourages audience feedback and multimedia submissions, then publishes the resulting stories in several weekly papers.

Pro-am journalism: Also known as citizen journalism or participatory journalism, it is when citizens report their own stories and news organizations facilitate publication.

Citizen reporting is driven by one principle; “…Our readers know more than we do…” says Jeff Howe, the writer who came up with the term “crowdsourcing.”

However, journalists are not obsolete. Briggs points out that there are still valuable skills journalists possess which they can leverage in the new “crowd-powered” journalism environment.

  • Briggs says citizens need journalists to add context to information.
  • Journalists still have their news judgment, reporting and editing skills to contribute.

Crowdsourcing is about outsourcing the “what” in the five W’s, while journalists still provide the “why.”


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