Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pro/Am journalism in Raleigh

The reader participation editor in Raleigh, DME Dan Barkin, says the News & Observer will go live on Monday with a page inside the metro section that combines staff and reader journalism on local affairs.

It sounds very much like the discussions we started here some time ago (scroll down to "Weather report: damp") about how Ohmynews in Korea and other successful citizen journalism sites, where the work of many amateur contributors is filtered and edited by professionals. Importantly, this effort will be using contributions received for the community site as material for the printed paper, as well.

I have few illusions about this. As a guy who's edited thousands of letters to the editor over the past 40 years, I know that the quality of both prose and accuracy will vary hugely, that reliability will be uneven at best, that many of the contributions will be self-serving and some may be unfair or simply wrong.

So what? We'll learn to handle that, adding value by applying editing skills that a typical community news site won't have. We'll learn directly from readers what matters to them, helping us broaden horizons and be more genuinely responsive. It will breach some of the walls we thought were protecting "journalism" from the Visigoths, but really were just separating us from the audience.

I know Fresno has a community news project ready to debut soon – perhaps on Monday, as well. (When I hear for sure I'll flag that here, of course, though I am planning to be in the air much of Monday). I'd love to hear about what the rest of you are up to, as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment