Wick Communications

Mind. Blown.

In Ideas on 27 Apr 2017 at 4:44 pm

It’s been a generally mind-blowing week for me. Consider the explanations of news bots over at NiemanLabs, for instance. But the thing that set my hair on fire the most was Jimmy Wales’ plan to reinvent journalism as a symbiotic relationship between journalists and everyone else. If you think a crowdsourced news site is something that has been tried before (and failed), consider Wales’ Wikipedia. It wasn’t so long ago that people thought there would never be a crowdsourced encyclopedia that could compete with, say, Encyclopedia Britannica, and when is the last time you reached for that shelf of books your mom bought in the 1970s?

He’s calling the new venture Wikitribune and you should really read about it yourself. In a nutshell, the idea is to have subscribers hire journalists who will then work on stories the crowd wants to see. The results would be vetted by the community. They hope to hire 10 journalists and launch in September.

The key here is a role for professional journalists who can ask questions, take the story where it goes and provide appropriate context. The crowd will, presumably, call out bias, check the facts and basically wiki the heck out of it.

To be sure, there are questions. How do you keep the thing working in real time, when the crowd can pivot before a story ever develops? How do you keep it civil? What if the community is more interested in the Kardashians than Afghanistan?

We shall see. I highly recommend keeping an eye on NiemanLabs. It will keep your world spinning with new ideas.

Clay

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