Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Like Roosevelt and Stalin, except for journalists

Well, a couple of organizations are making that first shaky alliance between newsrooms and citizen journalists; the Online Journalism Review has an overview of the early adopters up right now. Each paper is doing it a different way, but in all cases it generally involves the organization assigning a special editor to the citizens' bureau, who then does a basic form of journalistic review (fact-checking, proofreading, etc) to the stories being submitted. Some groups are doing it by sponsoring blogs individuals can keep, while others require citizen journalists to formally submit stories, just like any other journalist would do it; both groups are reporting that they're finding good things about the formats.

I have an opinion about all this that I don't bother to hide much, one with which others might disagree; despite all the recent scandals, I think there's a lot to gain from the formalized procedure the journalism industry has developed, in order to present credible news, and I think bloggers everywhere could benefit from following their example. I think it's great that a few organizations out there are trying out these experiments, teaming passionate bloggers with the wisdom of a journalism-school graduate, and creating something that's a hybrid of the two. I hope there's a lot more where these came from. (Thanks to Steve Rubel for pointing this out.)