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Crowdsourcing And The Future Of News

We’ll look at “crowdsourcing,” you, and the future of the news.

A user-generated video taken of looters during the London riots of 2011 and posted to YouTube. (extremecoverage/YouTube)

A user-generated video of looters taken during the London riots of 2011 and posted to YouTube. (extremecoverage/YouTube)

The old model of journalism was like this… Lone reporter, heroic or otherwise, goes out into the world, asks a lot of questions, digs and digs, fills a notebook, and brings back the story. In a shrinking world of journalism, that still goes on.

But the new model, or a piece of it, is very different. Scores of ordinary people – or hundreds, or thousands – sending in their observations on what’s going on. Their piece of the puzzle. To make the whole picture of the news. “Crowdsourcing.”

This hour On Point: We’re talking about crowdsourcing and the future of news.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Derrick Ashong, host of Al Jazeera’s The Stream

Mandy Jenkins, Social News Editor, The Huffington Post

Robert Hernandez, professor at USC Annenberg.

Photos

Tom prepares before the show. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Tom prepares before the show. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Robert Hernandez (aka @webjournalist) talks with On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Robert Hernandez (aka @webjournalist) talks with On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Huffington Post's Mandy Jenkins talks with On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Huffington Post's Mandy Jenkins talks with On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

From Tom’s Reading List

Huffington Post “If you are like most people, you don’t much like the way the “national media” cover politics. As a long-time member of the Washington press corps, I agree with you. We can be trivial, shortsighted, credulous, ideologically blinkered and timid — on a good day.”

Nieman Journalism Lab “If you’re the Guardian of London, you wait for the associated public-records dump, shovel it all on your Web site next to a simple feedback interface and enlist more than 20,000 volunteers to help you find the needles in the haystack.”

The Guardian “The George Polk Awards, one of the most important annual journalism prizes, has honoured the anonymous video of the death of Neda Aghan-Soltan during the 2009 Iranian election protests. ”

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  • Anonymous

    Has the McNews media been its’ own undoing to some extent? With the rush to print new, new, news, corporate news media seems to have shed the hallmarks of independent confirmation and clarity that distiguish professionally generated news from gossip and hearsay.
    Now, too many news reports are that a politician made a claim about another with little if any analysis or investigation regarding the veracity of their all too often outrageous claims.
    Are we more tolerant of movements like the ‘birthers’ or politicians who would have been laughed off the stage 30 years ago, or do we just need the fourth estate to remind us of the difference between fact and fiction, truth and lies?
    In that sense, although crowdsourcing offers some advantage in the scale of coverage with cell phone cameras everywhere now, it is alas lacking in-depth analysis of real experts who are not seeking to be right, but are actually seeking to find the truth. 

  • Yar

    Journalism is the fourth estate of our democracy.  Crowd sourcing simply doesn’t work to ferret out corporate or government corruption.  It takes the deep pockets of an organised news organization to shine light on public malfeasance. Rarely can a individual or small group finance the months of research on a developing story.  The very presence of the media at public meetings prevents more than it uncovers.  Who other than the media outlets, (usually print media) puts attending  regular government meetings on their agenda?  Is a meeting public if the public doesn’t show up?  We are in a crisis, historical media outlets are being squeezed and have few resources to cover the mundane aspects of our democracy.  We need to find new ways to fund our fourth estate, it saves us money and keeps us informed.  The media is an essential part of our democracy.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Crowdsourcing for tips and leads is one thing but crowdsourcing for opinion is a disaster.

    News and opinion needs to be digested through human beings who can’t be bought or gamed. So far it’s tough to find people who don’t have a price.

    And, online communities tend to be popularity contests and the tools amplify this. Look at Facebook, and even our own “beloved” (NOT) DISQUS with it’s “like” button.

    As one who has spanned Morrow, Cronkite, and now Lehrer I’d rather have a human-run news bureau digesting and giving me news. And, I want long form stories (NewsHour), not fragments in a crawl.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I’ve been thinking how to crowd out the Citizens United warp to campaigning and informed democratic elections.  Do we hear what our elected officials and their offices do, as our paid representatives, on an ongoing basis?  Or do we get the occasional news splash in between the campaign distorted mud-throwing and trumpeting?  Well, one local councilor has been very aggressive in getting his Facebook friended by everyone, and his subscription brings you all the news of his interactions with the community.  ALL the news.  So I checked out my Republican state senator’s Facebook, wondering if he is keeping us similarly updated.  Nope.  It’s for his quarter-million fans to weigh in. There is one post of his telling us to look out for such and such a missing person, and then (also undated), there’s the report the person was found.
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Scott-Brown/178795233167?sk=wall

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Online communities like flickr encourage people to upload more images to see if one will become popular and trigger the flickr explore algorithm putting it on the front page making it even more popular. This is using people’s quest to be popular/famous to get them to participate. It’s not all bad but it has serious problems and it can be gamed and is gamed daily.

    All of the tweeting going on during the green revolution in Iran is another kind of crowdsourcing and many hope their tweet or image will go viral.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with the tools, the problem is with the side show of attempting to capture people’s need to be popular. This pollutes the process.

    There’s no easy way around it but getting rid of the like button here would be a start.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Interesting idea.  I know I keep noting I am among the most popular by sheer “like” count, I guess, but in terms of percent of posts liked, I’d probably be near the bottom.  Often I can never tell what boosts my like count, as if some elf in the polar regions was clicking “like” on something I had posted months ago whenever they wanted me to be the queen. :>)
          On another comment board I’ve been participating in lately, there are very few likes, and when they occur, it seems to be an offer of true membership.  Everyone is waiting to see if certain strategic individuals are accepting that one’s participation.
          So.

      • Richard

        The fact that we even look at popularity count has meaning. We all do it and it tends not to lead to anything good.

    • Ellen Dibble

      People’s need to be popular.  To some, using this OnPoint site as an example, there are certain trolls who do not care a bit about popularity.  Quite the opposite.  The more they are told they are not making sense etc, the more they reiterate.
          But consider this:  in a democracy, it’s really, really important to understand where those who are NOT informed and savvy are “coming from.”  How else to counter Madison Avenue and its ilk.  The “democratic” approach to people who seem just to have fallen off the turnip truck, as the saying goes, is to listen, to answer, etc., etc., to welcome their having fallen off that truck.

      • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

        Ellen: What if you commented here and no one interacted with you, responded in any way to your comments or clicked the like button.

        Would you continue to participate here?

        I’m not saying you participate here to garner “likes” but favorable interaction is certainly a piece of it.

        Yes, one of the marks of a troll is someone who participates to irritate the regulars but in fact, the phrase “don’t feed trolls” comes from the idea that if no one interacts with your comments you’re not getting the feedback you need to keep commenting.

        So, the question remains, does the social interaction pull people in to participate more? For most of us, the answer is yes (when it’s positive) and if one is a troll, the answer is yes as well (when it’s negative).

        My question is, does that social interaction shape the kinds of things we post. I think it does. The more “likes” you garner with certain kinds of comments the more you’re likely to continue with those kinds of comments or in the case of a troll, the more anger you produce with certain kinds of comments, the more of those comments you’ll post here.

        This is why we don’t feed trolls.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The problem is that not all observers or commentators are equal.  There is a value in getting an education in a field before working in that field.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Interesting to me, how rarely Facebook pages really reveal enough of a person’s identity to judge from that.  Sometimes you can track their tweets if one scouts enough, to see who is interested in dialogue with them — I’m just now trying to figure this out.  To me, it’s not so much crowdsourcing but identifying a variety of perspectives that have either special and credible perspectives or are clearly used as sources by a certain quorum of a certain set of people.

    • TFRX

      Did you see the new research on how ignored economists were on cable news during the debt ceiling “crisis”?

      If not, you might not want to look it up, because it’ll just reinforce every concern we share about the  agenda setters’ determination to, well, not value education in a field when covering that field.

    • nj

      But even trained journalists, unless they have special training or specific experience in a field they are covering, often don’t know enough about what they are writing about to catch or correct basic, factual errors.

      I’m surprised at how often i note errors in popular-press stories that cover a subject about which i have firsthand or professional knowledge.

      I was interviewed once for a story by a major newspaper, and was surprised at how badly i was misquoted. I suspect that some of the reason for that was that the reporter didn’t really understand some of the nuances of the subject, and made unfounded assumptions.

      It makes me wonder how much else of what passes for “news” is riddled with errors, inconsistencies, and distortion.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        I agree.  It alarms me as well when I see something explained badly or reported erroneously.  I wonder if the problem in part comes from budget cuts in the news room.  Checking things costs money.

        • TFRX

          Oh, it gets worse:

          Checking things costs money.

          The penalty for getting things wrong isn’t worse than the reward for getting things fast.

          Making the same fact-based mistakes is not going to result in punishment, but being different than anyone else is asking for trouble, even if they’re all wrong.

          And it’s easier for a managing editor to get the wrong kind of attention from their owner by going against the narrative which the opinionators on cable and The Evening News on the networks have decided on: Disagreeing with those “professionals” is risky business, especially if one is in the 150th sized TV market and wants to be in the top 30.

  • Yar

    After the OnPoint website was down for part of the last hour I see a new button for notifications next to the Disqus expand community box.  
    What is it for?

  • http://stephensonstrategies.com W. David Stephenson

    What I call “emergent journalism” (combining the principle of emergent behavior with social media and mobile devices) can really be critical in a disaster. Here’s a link to a plan for such approaches that I created under a contract with public radio: http://j.mp/fzCXCy

    • Tina

      David, Your link starts out, “Broadcast stations, in return for the privilege of being broadcasters, owe a special responsibility to the communities they serve in times of emergency.”  During hurricane Irene, since my power was OUT AND my land-line was OUT, my only storm information came thru my AM/FM, battery-powered radio!   (LOTS of messages came thru from our electric company by phone, reaching me  AFTER the power came back …. a bit too late!) (I went out to my car & charged my cell phone just to be able to call out for help, but I didn’t realize that my town has a  reverse-911 system, but it didn’t have my cell phone number UNLESS I registered that number with a special web address, which I couldn’t do, because JUST as I found out about this, my computer went  OUT along with the electricity).  A friend could get the internet thru his smart phone PHONE connection (NOT the WiFi internet connection), but currrently, I cannot afford that phone OR that phone’s plan, and I KNOW that I’m not alone there.  So, 1950′s technology (I got my FIRST transistor radio for Christmas 1958, the Panasonic I use now was purchased in 2004!), OR the most current technology — which can most Americans afford?  Which will most Americans buy???……

      By the way, I recycle the radio batteries!

  • Roy Mac

    MacGruder?  Isn’t that Zapruder?

    • Anonymous

      Depends on what the crowd decides it is.

      • Roy Mac
        • Anonymous

          Maybe there was a second filmer.

          • Roy Mac

            Citation for the other one, please.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            I take it that you doubt the Zapruder film because it shows that there was one shooter on the sixth floor.  When the evidence doesn’t lead to the conclusion that you want, doubt the evidence.

        • Anonymous

          Maybe there was a second filmer.

        • Anonymous

          Maybe there was a second filmer.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure Twitter will provide lots of thoughtful analysis.  The crowd overlooked the violence of the Egyptian protesters.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Primary sources have the advantage of presence and immediacy, but they lack perspective.  What’s important to me is what is happening to me or near me, but I may not be at the center of an event.  In addition, I may see, but not understand.  I may understand, but not be able to explain.

    • Richard

      Well said.

    • Richard

      Well said.

  • Cantadora2

    questions:
    1. Verity. How do we know what is “news” versus staged for a camera?
    2. Permissions. As a journalist, I used to have to obtain photo-releases from those I interviewed.
    3. Privacy, slander? What are laws? etc….
    4. Careers. There were never a lot of journalism jobs, for those graduating from journalism schools. The professional field was always competitive. And unless, one was in a glamour spot, such as TV, salaries weren’t great. However, citizen journalists aren’t paid at all. So, who investigates the verity of the content? How does one make a journalism career in the 21st century?

  • David from Lowell

    Tom, maybe your guests can speak to the way crowdsourcing is changing sports reporting, specifically what happens when the players themselves break stories with twitter, before teams have time to approve the message or issue an official statement

    • TFRX

      Agreed. Not that I trust athletes to be honest, or more knowledgable, or effectively cram what they wish to say in 140 characters.

      But the idea that Joe Sports Doe reporter is no longer the one source for one athlete, and therefore everyone gets a crack at the idea, is refreshing.

      We could use that on the political side, where there are just too many journos who are worried about losing a source to do the actual job of reporting.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The Zapruder film is a good example of the problem.  The film actually shows that there was one shooter in the schoolbook depository acting alone, but it has taken experts in evidence analysis to interpret that.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The Zapruder film is a good example of the problem.  The film actually shows that there was one shooter in the schoolbook depository acting alone, but it has taken experts in evidence analysis to interpret that.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Try getting an important point through to the legislature.  E-mail your senator.  Post online.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  Finally, after a decade or so, start to identify certain academics or talking heads who seem in a position to “digest” and propagate that perspective.  BINGO.  You can FINALLY let go of it, let “real” journalists try to “get at” the powers that be.  It can happen.  They’ll say thank you; I’ll carry that ball.  Or maybe they won’t.  Weigh in at WhiteHouse dot org and see if the dozens of young screeners will move your message.  Maybe, but unlikely.  To see if you can tell if it’s you or a million other frustrated posters?  Good question.

  • Rex, Washington, DC

    I think this may be the future of journalism.  It’s there, it’s now, it’s the people- it’s real.
    There’s no time to compete with other stories piled up for evening broadcast or 24-hour drama “news” segments.

  • Rex, Washington, DC

    I think this may be the future of journalism.  It’s there, it’s now, it’s the people- it’s real.
    There’s no time to compete with other stories piled up for evening broadcast or 24-hour drama “news” segments.

  • Lilya Lopekha

    What Crowdsourcing?????????????

    Why are we changing the subject.  The real topic is as Honorable Tom Ashbrook has just “The Media Has Failed”
    why can’t we talk about what the real problems is.

    On a side note … we have sent the [printed for their convenience] secret FBI papers to Tom Ashbrook and Jack Beatty’s House in Hanover … and we are still waiting to hear from them…. probably until the Cows come home to WBUR offices in the form of a protest again and again and again.
    http://www.HumanGenome.org/FBI
    Secret documents from FBI’s Vault – the stuff that was supposed to be secret until July 2030.

    Wake up OnPoint.  Tom & Jack – do your job.  You are the “professional” journalists with fudiciary responsibility … not the tweeter kids with the cells phone.  Stop spreading the hype garbage and DO YOUR JOB!!!!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Would you stop being irrelevant?  Today’s topic isn’t about 9/11, and you discredit yourself by butting in where you’re not involved.

      • Lilya Lopekha

        Greg …. you are irrelevant.

        Those FBI papers show the birth of the Crowdsourcing, before Tweeter was invented.

        People in NY and NJ was looking for suspicious activities on 9/11 – They Saw Something and Said Something.

        And, FBI agents diligently have rounded some military “foreign” guys on 9/11 in four different locations and detailed the evidence that proooooooooooooooooooves that they were involved in the events of 9/11 …. 375 darn pages of stuff (fake id’s, pictures, videotapes, explosive residue, lying to goverment officials).
        http:/www.HumanGenome.org/FBI

        Crowdsource This, Greg Camp.  You are irrelevant!

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          No, it’s an illustration of what I’m talking about.  You have a pile of heavily redacted documents without any chain of evidence that you think you understand.  A real journalist would spend the time to check those sources, check whether they’re genuine and make sense, check them against other evidence, and balance the reporting.

    • Rex

      From what I get out of On Point, their job is to open up discussion of the news (in its many forms) between officials/experts and the public.

      Tom Ashbrook and Jack Beatty are merely informed moderators, not news anchors.

  • Tina

    SOME of the new contributions are good, but NOT “everyone has a cell phone with a camera these days” — I know at least six women over 60 years of age who do not have one, and who could not afford one.

    Therefore, in a large crowd, younger people WITH camera phones, males WITH camera phones might see the “EVIDENCE” one way; whereas, the decades of experience of the older women MIGHT cause them to see DIFFERENT EVIDENCE, but it will NOT be recorded if there are fewer of those women because their COHORT IS SMALLER and often POORER, or, at least, not as likely to invest in a camera phone.  Also, that they took time to attend the event, or to stop to see the spontaneous event, IS within their sphere of experience; recording everything they see may not be.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    About the shooting in San Francisco, how much responsibility for the event does the crowd have?  From the audio, it sounded as if the crowd made the situation worse.  Did Grant feel encouraged by the crowd to resist?  Did Mehserle feel in greater danger from a mob?

    The job of a journalist is to remain neutral.

    • Steve T

      The job of a journalist is to remain neutral.

      Agreed!, but who is?

  • Emjones

    Tom, et al.:

    It is wildly wrong to claim that “professional news people” are somehow more honest or objective than amateurs. There are certainly news items that YOU cannot cover due to your own internal corporate politics. My local paper refused to cover a story where I my bank account was cleaned out through identity theft. The bank is their biggest advertiser. Hah!

    I’ll take an honest amateur any day.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      How do you know that the amateur is honest?  Professional journalists have more to lose.

      While I recognize the importance of the theft to you, is it an event of general interest?  We here stories about identity theft frequently.  Professional journalists have the job of bringing perspective to the news.

  • a2znjc

    The National Weather Service offers regional “Storm Spotter” training classes, in which they teach the general public the types of weather patterns they deem severe and provide a special phone number to call and code to give when calling to report severe weather as it develops. All this is to say it IS possible to train the general population what and how to report.
    Nancy
    Hendersonville, TN

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Train, yes, but notice how specific and quantifiable that particular subject is.  The training required is minimal, compared to the typical topics of the news.

    • http://stephensonstrategies.com W. David Stephenson

      They also make a point of monitoring Twitter.  Using the #wxreport hashtag gets your weather tip into the NWS real-time computer data stream http://j.mp/893zfL

  • Ellen Dibble

    One thing about online news.  It isn’t something I can turn to while I eat my TV dinner and try to recharge at the end of the day.  
        Right now I turn to Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, Scott Pelley, just to see the familiar faces, that I can read the lines of their personalities somewhat, making me feel like a person who looks at other people, an interactive being.  There, they’re all talking about a balloon in Colorado.  Okay.  Now I can carry on with my life.
        But it’s much quicker newswise to look online and see they’re all talking about the balloon in Colorado.
        I need those videos network has provided, at a certain time, with the familiar faces.  Otherwise the networks would be TOTALLY out of luck with me.  For now I mainly look for the familiar faces, and move on.

  • Ellen Dibble

    One thing about online news.  It isn’t something I can turn to while I eat my TV dinner and try to recharge at the end of the day.  
        Right now I turn to Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, Scott Pelley, just to see the familiar faces, that I can read the lines of their personalities somewhat, making me feel like a person who looks at other people, an interactive being.  There, they’re all talking about a balloon in Colorado.  Okay.  Now I can carry on with my life.
        But it’s much quicker newswise to look online and see they’re all talking about the balloon in Colorado.
        I need those videos network has provided, at a certain time, with the familiar faces.  Otherwise the networks would be TOTALLY out of luck with me.  For now I mainly look for the familiar faces, and move on.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Mehserle in San Francisco claimed that he intended to use his Taser, not his firearm.  I wonder if in a tense situation with a mob around him, he made a mistake out of fear.

    • Steve T

      If he made that kind of mistake he doesn’t belong on anybody’s police force or as a security officer carrying a gun. Especially after all the training he’s been through. Tense situations are what they are trained to handle, fear is what they train you not to have, fear is what gets your fellow officers or your self killed. In this case all I see is anger, and police are people who can not afford to get angry, because they lose control of the situation. We can all see what happens then.

  • Jwryan

    No Tom, I don’t trust “crowdsourcing”. But I don’t trust the traditional news media all that much either. On topics where I have some expertise I notice that “professional” reporting is often incomplete, misleading, or even just plain wrong and it makes me wonder how bad things are in areas where I don’t know if they’re off track. I take everything with a grain or more of salt.

    Jim
    Sumter SC
    WRJA

  • Gregg

    If not for bloggers, Dan Rather’s forged documents would not have been discovered.

    • Yar

      I still bet that was a plant from the right.  What better way to destroy the truth than to put it out in a fake form and then attack it.

      • Gregg

        CBS has never seemed much interested in tracking down the forger. You’d think they would.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Here’s an example:  I taught a semester in an inner city school.  One of my students refused to cooperate, and I asked him to go to the principal’s office.  His classmates pulled out their cellphones to be “citizen journalists.”  That act just made him refuse to do what I asked with greater vehemence.

    • Ellen Dibble

      This suggests to me that cellphones should not be allowed in the schools.  I actually think this might be true in my town; more likely it was just that they decided that cellphones must be switched off during school hours.
          So I’m wondering what happened.  What happened?
          Did you get to send all the “citizen journalists” to the principal’s office as well?
      (And then one wonders why that was a one-semester stint; the principal would be less and less happy with said teacher – :>) .)

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        1.  Cellphones weren’t allowed in the classroom.  You were under the impression that students obey rules these days?

        2.  You were also under the impression that principals back up their teachers?  Nothing was done, and nothing got taught that period.

        Sorry to be grumpy, but there’s a lot wrong with much of our world.

        • Ellen Dibble

          It’s okay to grump, Greg.  I have done afterschool teaching for a few years circa 2000, and was trained as a teacher as a college student.  In the afterschool case, I saw just what you describe, an inner-city-type group was just what you describe, and no amount of idealism could undo that.  In the case of practice teaching circa 1969/1970, I can tell you I was no way near prepared as a personality.  I could barely do my own growing up, let alone face that of a whole classroom of others.  
               I can’t imagine how you dare.  Or actually, I do have an idea.  The kids, no matter how badly behaved, motivated me a lot.  Just, I had to give up.  Their problems were too obvious, too tough, and my own career was taking up all my time.
               Hang in there.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            I went back to teaching college.  As an adjunct, I get much less money, but having students who are there by choice makes a huge difference.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            I went back to teaching college.  As an adjunct, I get much less money, but having students who are there by choice makes a huge difference.

  • Errol Lincoln Uys

    Crowd wisdom without curation? I’m skeptical about hitting a button to ‘signal’ what’s up or down, true or false, good or bad, a digital alchemy promising to ‘give the media back to the people.’

    This is a potential blight on free and individual expression, stirring a mess of potage and hoping the best morsels will bubble – or aggregate — to the surface.

    I look with awe at the mostly young geniuses who drive the Internet, but I don’t forget where I came from, especially my days as an editor at Reader’s Digest in its great days. No machine on earth can replace the flesh and blood editors who ‘curated’ thousands of articles a month to find just thirty items of “enduring interest and lasting value” to millions of readers worldwide.

    That experience inspired me to launch Commentopia and curate the best comments from the daily deluge of opinion.

    Commentopia is not a news aggregator but a digest of public opinion that creates a dynamic Internet version of a traditional “Letters to the Editor” page. A place where the media stream is quieted, the
    voice of the people heard above the roar of the crowd.

    http://www.commentopia.com/

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Weren’t you hawking your book about Brazil a couple of weeks ago?  This isn’t your advertising space.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I don’t expect to see “curated” news and opinion disappear anytime soon.  One reason I don’t read the New York Times regularly is that I can (still) assume that its fine coverage is taken into the mainstream without my help.  Ditto for the New Yorker magazine.  At a point, one comes to realize the portion of reality that is not channeled into the curated part of public presentations, and there are ways of accessing that, which is new.  It’s not easy, however, I can attest, and I expect journalism schools and journalists in the field are tackling the new possibilities, trying to figure out the best strategies.  Of course you can’t forgo your financial support system.  If that happens to be the ever-more centralized monetary power brokers, then — need I say more.
      Sometimes it seems to me that the whole Tea Party was a creation of the blogosphere, a self-generated enthusiasm whose foundation nobody had bothered to fact-check.  I guess financial support system for that whole geyser of conviction was and is well-nigh permanent.

  • Helen

    details from the crowd on scene is exciting but I miss the insight that journalists used to bring to a situation because they have researched it, been following the story, and know its history. Few news sources take the time to remind the public of facts leading up to this moment. Example, Palestine requesting recognition as state. I haven’t heard anyone yet go back and talk about the history and the implications, why exactly is President Obama threatening a veto. The only thing said, over and over, “only through negotiations”…… but nothing on why, what is the National Interest of US  for veto, is it just power of Israeli lobby? or is he standing on the UN’s definition of what a state is Palestine doesn’t really meet?

  • Tina

    One word:  “Rashomon”

    Editors’ sensitivity to the Rashomon aspects of events might possibly get under-developed if Crowd-Sourcing is seen as too sacrosanct by younger editors.  You’d THINK the opposite might become true, but just look at how many people spout-forth Faux News “news”, un-considered and without personal “editting”!!!  If the new editors come out of that cohort, will we be sunk?!?  I think so!

  • Tina

    Just like so many of our jobs going overseas, this is another example of how We, the Citizens, have conspired in our own downfall, or in the downfall of the institutions/organizations/structures that have served us well.  What do I mean?  We LEAP for CHEAP!!  Your local newspaper does not really Cost Less than getting the news OnLine:  The daily paper could even cost a lot more than it does now (with the missing news restored!) and still cost less than the price of a computer, internet service, electrical bills, printer ink and paper — if those last two items matter to you!  Sure, you can do even more than read the newspaper on line, but you can use news PAPER for other projects, too, though most people without puppies or pre-K art students don’t think much about the options.

    We wanted cheap goods; our jobs went overseas.  We want cheap news; that is what we are going to get.  How many Tom Ashbrooks AND his remarkable staff are there in a typical crowd?  I may think I am thoughtful and observant, but I am no Tom A and staff by so many degrees, I cannot even calculate — just their ability to know & compare   events from the past with current issues is outside the ken of most people outside of journalism.  When citizens ONLY want CHEAP journalism, what quality can we expect?

    • Tina

      I meant to add, “outside of journalism and academia.”

  • Joe

    The future of news?

    Unfortunately, I see the future of news degenerating into the type of wild, paranoid, conspiracy theories being peddled by the likes of Glenn Beck and Alex Jones.

  • http://www.dogoodgauge.org The Do Good Gauge

    On 4:32am Friday September 23, 2011, I was awakened by a dream of democracy planted by the seeds of On Point’s interview with Stephen Breyer and with the memory of Martin Luther King.

    I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

    I have a dream that one day on the river banks of Alton the sons of unemployed factory workers will sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

    I have a dream that one day even the state of Missouri, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

    I have a dream today!

    In this dream there was a vision of Elijah Lovejoy’s printing press emerging from the flooded banks of the Mississippi River.   Within the remaining typeset, the prophecy was stated, “Freedom is in the words of the common man”.

    I have a dream today!

    I have a dream where political posturing is replaced with individuals who put their best effort into developing civil solutions for their community.    I have a dream of a country where majority participation can overcome the injustice of a privilege few.   A dream where Americans see  the solutions to social dilemma within their hands and not at the feet of the ruling class.

    I have a dream today!

    I have a dream where each citizen understands their role in a civil society.    A role which does not assume ones perspective is the best or that attention can be commanded upon demand.   In this dream the farmer, fisherman, and bricklayer are supported by fellow citizens in expressing a solution to the benefit of all.   Failure is not an end in this dream, it is a beginning, it is an opportunity to refine the thought for a second, third, or umteen chance to reach consensus for a civil solution.

    I have a dream today!

    A dream where technology replaces turpitude with justice, honesty, and good moral character.   In this technology democracy trumps the bias of a controlling media.     In this dream the merits of an argument decides who, where, and when the thought is viewed, not the CEO, not the publisher, and not the authority of a privilege few.

    I have a dream today!

    And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

    Free at last! Free at last!

    Thank GodAlmighty, we are free at last!

  • Hidan

    Did Greg Camp earlier try to blame death of a unarmed civilians on the crowd who took the footage of the officer who shoot a unarmed black-man held down by another officer in the back?

    Just a few things,

    The officers first lied about what first happen(police spokesman), than tried to charge the people who recorded it with the fed wire tapping laws aka P.A., the weight of a gun and taser is clearly different, one would assume he took/switced his safety off before he fired. The guy fled the state to florida, only got 2 years for doing such.If the crowd did not record what happen most likely he would not have been charged at all.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      How much do you know about the weapons in question?  The Taser X26 and the Glock handgun are similar enough that under stress, a person could easily confuse the two.  If Mehserle put his finger inside the trigger guard, he may have fired the Glock accidentally, since that kind of handgun has no safety worth mentioning.  The officer was arresting a man who was under the influence and engaged in disorderly conduct.

      Yes, I asked whether the crowd may have escalated a situation that was already tense.  Asking a question does not assign blame, unless you are ready to rush to a predetermined judgement about what happened.

      • Hidan

        So the officer was no only incompetent in his job, he couldn’t tell the difference of a taser and glock? Again there Greg

        between 7:03 and one, while another officer held the man down, instead say handcuffs he decided to whip out his taser?

        You ask what they call leading questions to attempt to justify incompetence. Even if the crowd was yelling which in the video looks like the crowd was not close enough to do anything.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2LDw5l_yMI

  • Hidan

    Some example on how Crowdsourcing works,

    -Keeps police honest(that’s why they been trying to ban cell phones in Ma. and arresting people even know it’s perfectly legal)
    -If the MSM choose not to cover a incident or event due to conflict with say sponsors, crowd-sourcing can still get that information out to the public.
    -Many Human Rights groups now give people in area’s with high human rights abuses, camera’s or videos to record such abuse that governments would rather choose to hide.

    Of course such Crowdsourcing can be abused or distorted but, there is countless examples of our professional journalist doing just that without lossing jobs, titles.

    More power to people who wish to use Crowdsourcing but I still will take it with a grain of salt(much like most of the MSM of today).

  • http://www.dogoodgauge.org The Do Good Gauge

    Missing from the media is the democratic truth.   Pandering to the extremes comes from both the left and the right in the narrowly controlled public communication system.    In simple terms crowd sourcing is democracy.    On Point provides a quality product, though on this subject the bias comes from the fear of loosing a job.   Lately the media has attempted to describe crowd sourcing as an illegitimate child of the tea party movement. 

    Ira Flatow of Science Friday is an exception to the rule.  Several of his programs provide an educational and optimistic view of crowd sourcing.     Examples include the search for Steve Fossett’s plane in the Sierra Nevada mountain range using Google maps, Netflix Prize, the reCAPTCHA project, and DARPA’s red balloon experiment.

    James Surowiecki provides a more in depth analysis of the potential of Crowd Sourcing in his book, Wisdom of the Crowds

  • Pingback: Crowdsourcing the Climate: Evolving Media, Policy, and Science Practice | The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media

  • Pingback: Can Rawporter make crowdsourced video work? | Ebyline Blog

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