Off The Written Path

‘JournalismNext’ Chapter 10 Summary

March 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Photo By Joe Hardy

News is a conversation now, not a lecture, and there is no going back, says Mark Briggs in Chapter 10.

Briggs acknowledges that some journalists would prefer a lecture style of news, but says that journalism is made better by audience participation. The key now is for journalists to learn to “manage, and leverage, that conversation.”

One common method of audience participation in news is the “Comments” section beneath an article. However, comments easily devolve into “inane,” “cruel,” and “a ghetto of personal attacks and flame wars,” Briggs says.

It is the responsibility of the journalist or news organization to help maintain a high-quality comments section, which will ultimately lead to better transparency in the reporting process and improve journalist-reader relations, Briggs says.

Other methods for joining the conversation include:

  • Make news participatory: Provide an opportunity for user generated content. Use message boards, have a “most popular” section, display blog links to an article, use social bookmarking tools on your content, and use social networking.
  • Get involved: Put in the extra elbow grease by participating in the reader community. Solicit content, do community outreach, run contests, moderate the comments section.
  • Develop sources through social networks: Find sources through Facebook or MySpace, on niche social networks or build a Google group of sources.
  • Collaborate with your community: Instead of competing with readers for a story, collaborate. Let readers provide the “what” while you provide context; the “why” and “how.”

Briggs also reminds journalists of the importance of accuracy, and the importance of correcting errors when they do happen.

A mantra that is mentioned again in this chapter is that journalists should realize that readers “know more than we do” and that reader knowledge can be leveraged to improve reporting.

Tags: Journalism Next by Mark Briggs

Crowdsourcing in Libya Aids Traditional Media

February 27th, 2011 · No Comments

Videos, pictures and news of the uprising in Libya are making it out of the country, but the images are not all coming from traditional media. A post in Mashable by Radhika Marya tells of how crowdsourcing is providing traditional outlets, like CNN, with some of their coverage of the Libyan uprising.

I have noticed that the Libyan revolt has not been as visible in the media as the revolution in Egypt. International journalists don’t seem to have the same kind of access to the Libyan people as they did in Egypt. But crowdsourcing is clearing the obstacles standing in the way of traditional media outlets.

“One Day on Earth,” a collaborative video project on the web, is now serving as a resource for news from Libya. Members of the One Day on Earth community have provided videos, news and photos about the uprising. 

 Brandon Litman, executive producer for the project, is quoted in the Mashable story as saying:

 “Social media, local filmmakers and citizens armed with cameras are a key source of information in today’s media, especially in situations like what is happening in Libya and the Middle East.”

According to the Mashable article Litman believes social media, such as crowdsourcing, can “knock down the walls” that traditional media faces. 

I saw in CNN that some international journalists were invited into Tripoli by Libyan officials. Such a situation easily lends itself to spin, with officials restricting the places journalists can go to or only taking them to places they want people to see (although the move seemed to have backfired in this particular case).   

In this instance it seems that crowdsourcing rises to the top as a direct link to the people of Libya, serving to help tell the story of the Libyan people without the regime spin.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts