Newsshift - Watchdog Journalism With a Long Tail


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This is a diagram explaining the NewsShift idea. Read more about it on

NewsShift is a web platform that adds a collaborative research layer to online news stories. This layer, accessible from the news page itself, offers readers powerful tools to communicate and develop the story with additional information and insight -- facilitating collaborative watchdog journalism. As news budgets get cut, local journalists have limited time and resources for investigative reporting. At the same time, readers are responding to news stories with valuable research and analysis using blogs, comments, and other social tools. NewsShift allows readers to share their findings and work constructively with journalists to add new depth to local news reporting. NewsShift tools let readers augment a news story in simple ways: index important names and topics; link place names to maps; footnote quotes with informative URLs. NewsShift can also query web services for data related to the story, letting readers curate what's important.

A reader can use NewsShift to expose a local conflict of interest. For example: a story on a waterfront development project mentions the mayor's role in picking the real estate developer. Using NewsShift, a reader discovers that the developer is a top campaign donor to the mayor, and inserts a link to this information. The story's writer notices this link, and the substantial investigative work that followed it, and writes a follow-up piece airing concerns about the mayor's ties to the developer.

Similar networked researches happens frequently, but are often lost in the comments or spread thin over the web. NewsShift connects local reporters and readers more closely in the journalistic process, and harnesses their combined research power to connect the news to a broader network of information.

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Newsshift - Watchdog Journalism With a Long Tail

  1. 1. We use two main collaborative journalism models online: -+ + -+ + -+ + -+ + -+ + Articles + Comments Wikis + Data Silos (like news sites, blogs...) (like Wikipedia, Little Sis)
  2. 2. Contributors bring knowledge and research into the news site -+ + -+ + Discussion Collaborative Editing (Posts + Responses + Comments) (accumulative data centers)
  3. 3. ...but these sites are also where this knowledge stays disinformation -+ + high costs -+ + -+ + echo chamber redundancy -+ + -+ + fail fragmentation ...with only links and search engines to connect them
  4. 4. NewsShift lets users join forces without leaving their favorite sites -+ + -+ + net effect -+ + mass collaboration low costs simple coordination resource sharing swift collective action investigative communities bringing together centralized data silos and decentralized autonomous publications
  5. 5. Learn more at: watchdog journalism with a long tail & | Knight News Challenge 2010