Crowdsourcing and Journalism Seth C. Lewis School of Journalism, UT-Austin [email_address]
Crowd-what? <ul><li>White Paper Version:  Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated...
Crowdsourcing “trailer”  ( online version )
Key principles <ul><li>The crowd is dispersed </li></ul><ul><li>The crowd has a short attention span </li></ul><ul><li>The...
Crowdsourcing and Journalism
A spectrum of input <ul><li>From the simple … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reading documents (a la Dallas Morning News case) </li...
<ul><li>Crowdsourcing, in journalism , is the use of a large group of readers to report a news story. It differs from trad...
How it works <ul><li>Lend us your eyes </li></ul><ul><li>Help us gather data </li></ul><ul><li>Submit your photos/videos <...
Lending Us Your Eyes <ul><li>Dallas Morning News  and the JFK files </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Given the volume, we haven't b...
Gathering ‘everyday’ info <ul><li>WNYC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Are you being  gouged ?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gas-guz...
And more <ul><li>Full articles written by users … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example:  NowPublic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… or ed...
Like citizen journalism, but … <ul><li>…  crowdsourcing is  easier </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Users are given bite-sized tasks ...
Is crowdsourcing the future? <ul><li>“The failure of one citizen journalism Web business after another this year ought to ...
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Crowdsourcing and Journalism

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From our class discussion today on crowdsourcing ... our class: http://writingforonline.wordpress.com/

Crowdsourcing and Journalism

  1. 1. Crowdsourcing and Journalism Seth C. Lewis School of Journalism, UT-Austin [email_address]
  2. 2. Crowd-what? <ul><li>White Paper Version: Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call. </li></ul><ul><li>Soundbyte Version: The application of Open Source principles to fields outside of software. </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Jeff Howe </li></ul>
  3. 3. Crowdsourcing “trailer” ( online version )
  4. 4. Key principles <ul><li>The crowd is dispersed </li></ul><ul><li>The crowd has a short attention span </li></ul><ul><li>The crowd is full of specialists </li></ul><ul><li>The crowd produces mostly crap </li></ul><ul><li>The crowd finds the best stuff </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Source: “ The Rise of Crowdsourcing ,” by Jeff Howe (2006) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Crowdsourcing and Journalism
  6. 6. A spectrum of input <ul><li>From the simple … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reading documents (a la Dallas Morning News case) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sending in photos (of polling places, for instance) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… To the more challenging … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Researching and writing articles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The point </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The collective efforts of non-specialists can add up to more than one expert individual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dan Gillmor: “my readers know more than I do” </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Crowdsourcing, in journalism , is the use of a large group of readers to report a news story. It differs from traditional reporting in that the information collected is gathered not manually, by a reporter or team of reporters, but through some automated agent , such as a website . </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Robert Niles </li></ul>
  8. 8. How it works <ul><li>Lend us your eyes </li></ul><ul><li>Help us gather data </li></ul><ul><li>Submit your photos/videos </li></ul><ul><li>The keys … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep it simple </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep it directed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide an easy, automated interface </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Lending Us Your Eyes <ul><li>Dallas Morning News and the JFK files </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Given the volume, we haven't been able to review most of the files. That's why were calling on you. Here's your chance to review never-seen-before materials related to the JFK assassination.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>RocDocs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We’re inviting you to help us be watchdogs” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Work of TPM Muckraker </li></ul><ul><li>(Hat tip: JP Digital Digest ) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Gathering ‘everyday’ info <ul><li>WNYC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Are you being gouged ?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gas-guzzlers on the street </li></ul></ul><ul><li>GasBuddy </li></ul><ul><li>Problems at polling stations in Cincy ? </li></ul>
  11. 11. And more <ul><li>Full articles written by users … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: NowPublic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… or edited by users </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Wikinews </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Beyond journalism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Image Labeler </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amazon Mechanical Turk </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Like citizen journalism, but … <ul><li>… crowdsourcing is easier </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Users are given bite-sized tasks to accomplish </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time commitment can be small </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unlike more traditional notions of “citizen journalism,” crowdsourcing does not ask readers to become anything more than what they’ve always been: eyewitnesses to their daily lives . </li></ul>
  13. 13. Is crowdsourcing the future? <ul><li>“The failure of one citizen journalism Web business after another this year ought to be showing news publishers that a business model based on readers doing reporters’ jobs for free isn’t working.” ( Robert Niles ) </li></ul><ul><li>But be warned … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open-source journalism is tough </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You have get the division of labor just right </li></ul></ul>

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