will provide “comparative
Enable readers to make their own comparisons by suggesting earlier
stories on a similar subject, pointing to background material available
online, and including materials such as images, videos, maps,
Encourage readers to submit their own images, videos, and stories by
using social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to ask
specific questions about how an issue is seen by people in different
countries and regions.
Historical comparisons can be facilitated by creating (interactive)
timelines using tools such as dipity.com. Archival sources and
historical quotes are also a good way of providing contextual
Encourage reporters from different countries and regions to provide
featured comments on stories submitted by their colleagues.
Set up a forum in which suggestions for stories can be submitted, and
voted upon. On an infrastructure level, it needs to be ascertained
that voting is not abused, so standard IP address verification is highly
recommended. In regard to content, submitters should provide a
minimum amount of background to weed out spam.
While crowdfunded journalistic offerings such as spot.us are
problematic insofar as they entail a certain bias on the part of the
reporters, this does not necessarily apply to donations intended to
allow journalists to travel. A system in the style of kickstarter.com
could be used to increase the mobility of correspondents.
Training sessions and materials for journalists could be made
available online (e.g. in the form of webinars) to allow other
contributors to access these materials, and profit from the exchange
of knowledge and skills.
Create standards for rewarding participation. To encourage a
sustained high level of participation, acknowledge informal
contributors whenever they share their content. Always attribute
content to its creator, offer different licensing models (including
Creative Commons), and provide feedback.
Create a striated reward structure. Consider creating different levels
for informal contributors, which offer them status and greater levels
of access. Contributors with a sustained record of high quality
contributions could be rewarded with a featured comment, blog
post, or photo/video essay.
In regard to journalistic standards, feedback, requests and support,
editorial staff should initiate and maintain an ongoing conversation
with the different shareholders. Social media such as Facebook and
Google+ can be used to include users in this conversation and keep
an ear to the ground.
Provide temporal context. Events and issues are presented within
their historical context by providing links to earlier stories on the
same topic, or similar topics. When reporting on a story with deep
links in historical events, interactive scalable timelines can be used to
enable readers to change from a macro to a micro perspective.
Provide spatial context. Ideally, local stories should be presented in a
way that demonstrates how local issues correspond to regional,
national, and supra-national issues. This can be achieved by providing
links to stories that approach the same topic from a wider
geographical vantage point, and by using interactive maps created
with tools such as zeemaps.com.
Provide editorial context by linking stories to other stories by the
same correspondent, stories on similar topics by other
correspondents, or commissioning jointly written stories, dialogues,
and journalistic exchanges.
Provide social context by allowing readers to comment on stories
through social media such as Facebook or Google+, and by using
these comments to initiate and maintain conversations with readers.
Encourage readers to contribute content to provide more context to
express contrasting views.
Provide media context by providing links to similar stories in other
media, and by embedding readily available (e.g. Creative Commons)
content from YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare, and other sources. By
attaching Twitter hashtags to stories, readers’ reactions to these
stories can be tracked easily and efficiently.
Forge strategic alliances with bloggers, regional and national media,
as well as international news organizations to create opportunities
for syndication, and to establish a network of potential contributors.