BloggerCon IV, Day 1: Citizen Journalism

 Discussion Leader: Jay Rosen, http://pressthink.org 

 Been to every bloggercon, like Dave.

 into the art and science of journalism


 We'll be working with the list of bullet points here: Live! Users Know More than We Do Journalism: The set-up for participants @ BloggerCon IV

 Everybody can be a journalist.

 talking about users iknow more than we do journalism: Source is Dan Gillmor: "Readers know more than I do."


 Your job is to help me answer a question:

 How do we actually do users-more-than-we-do journalism and break news with it, proving that social networks can produce kick-ass reporting?

 If you want to help, here are some things we need to know way more about: Fill in underneath each of these...

 * Cases-on-record that could be called open source journalism and the lessons from them.

 * Stories that can be usefully investigated using open source and collaborative methods. Have a reporting project that would be a good test case? Raise your hand.

 * Which user communties are good bets to be interested and knowledgable enough to make it happen?


 * Is it possible to create user networks for the purpose of doing journalism with them, or wiser to rely on existing ones?

 Is this too expensive and involved?

 * What tools already exist for this kind of work, and how can we adapt them?

 exampls, collaborative editing...

 * What do we know about the challenges of doing open source journalism from previous chapters like open source software?

 what can we borrow, lessons can we learn?

 * Which questions already have answers in earlier attempts to do this kind of journalism (Wikinews, Oh My News)?

 * WhatŐs the right combination of pro and amateur?

 Jay: "nobody iknows what;'s in our laws" Lots of stories there.

 Time cover story, post publication corrction of a cyberporn story.

 Susan Mernit:

 Important to recognize how much the grass roots matter. Traditional Journalism is top down. empower individuals to use tools.

 interested in tags and microformats to help info become more discoverable. How to classify writing to make it more findable. embed tags in microformats... diverse tool kits. give them the microformats or plug-ins.

 (Q from a geek: what;'s a microformat?)

 Mark Glaser, PBS...

 tried to do very simple open source reporting efforts. "how has the interenet has changed your life?"

 AP worked with microsoft, required Windows and Windows Media. Mark asked what other services are also closed. Used his long tail to complile a black and white list of closed and open tools and services. Was able to compile good lists this way.

 wrote a rant about TVs in airports running CNN, and couldn't be shut off. Heard from the guy behind the TVs in airports. inte3rviewed him. then interviewed the TV-off zapper guy in San Francisco.

 Key is to be open to your reader. Throw something out there, and readers who actually know something, or may be major playhers in the subject, surface and contribute.

 Tom Maddox.

 This is a new thing, calling this "open source".

 "writing supported by advertising" is different than the "massive parallel processing" we have from bloggers.

 my sense is we need to think about this verydifferently. This very real notino that the "audience" knows more than we can possibly know.

 jay: ken sands is here. From Jay's post:

 We have a case to conjure with. ItŐs the Spokane Newspaper, and website, the Spokesman-Review.com. Ken Sands, who heads the online operation there, is here. He wrote a post at my blog laying out all the facts of the case. If you can help Ken, raise your hand.



 35 active blogs at the paper

 3-4 podcasts

 transparent newsroom, webcasts of news meetings.

 came about to the early 90s, when a listserv was created by email for Ducks fans. knew this stuff works

 in 5th year of blogging.

 asked people "what do you know about this high school basketball tournament..." Got 150k page views a week.

 Sportswriters scratched heads wondering how this would be different than what they've been doing. the result was so much better and more transforming that what they did as a paper alone.

 Ordr from editor: come back with some tradition-busting ideas.

 Shannon: Sunlightfoundation.com

 Doc: open the archive3s. And don;'t justify it just with numbersw. It's about relationships.

 Dan Gillmor: fisking, dissecitng stuff that's already been published... something to look at in this context is discussion about articles on wikipedia. Slomething like that goes on, a very flawed process, butyou learn what people know, and at the end the articles become almost metadata. Something here can be mapped over.

 Jay (reflecting) so the wikipedia model is helpful?

 Dan: It's useful.

 Christophr Carfi:

 thinking about tactics. How do we get it outside this room? really giving citations and recognitions to contributors. people like credit.

 Thinking about projects as longer-term program rather than a series of one-offs.

 Give heads-ups about what's coming down the pike.

 follow-up... corollary in that readers are in more places than we are. They can break stories. cast a wider net. There is a great local online publ called coastsider. It catches fires, etc. real breaking grass roots stories.

 jay: the majors do know that there are lots of eyewitnesses and people with cameras out there.

 (hey terry... how about synergy with TV stations?)

 ?... look for disparaties between what's said by officials and what's actually going on. How much is allocated and what is actually spent. You need an enormous number of peolple to research this stuff.

 Jay: Info needs to be public. KNowledgeable readers and participants. Grading them. editors to filter through.

 Dave: where does the money come from for these projects?

 Jay: there are funders. we need to prove the concept, and they'll fund the pudding. Foundations? People in this room? Soros?

 ___: talk to officials who can't get the attention of the MSM. give them an idea and let them post directly. Yet they have issues with anonymity, accountability... upshot... if you want to do citizen investigative journalism, you need rules and mechanisms for anonymity.

 Jay: that's a problem.

 Lisa Stone: where you are is not just geographical. Left MSM becuse there was a lack of diverse opinion, background. Need a diverse set of sources to bring expertise to a topic. Not just wonks. Blogher is teaching about that.

 jay: groups most likely to be knowlegeable and motivated may not be the most diverse.

 __ : suggestion: follow up and fact-check what you get from bloggers. noticing disclamers; "you got it from the blogoosphere... don't blame us."

 Ken: we apply the same standards of verification to all sources.

 Lisa Williams: turning journalism into industrial something. we're still early, though. Yoiu need to find stories that can be broken up into small sections, so the work can be partitioned out. would love a tool to make it as easy to file a request as to write an email.

 Terry Heaton: my client WKRN in nashville, is ahead of most mainstream media in how they addresss the blogosphere. about to launchy a new initiative... can't talk about it yet. but tghey are using the connected viewers as sources. first thing they did was learn to listen. theydidn;'t try to create their own blogosphiere or pool.

 I go back to what tom maddox was saying. This is a new thing. How do we do post-modern news,. even the use of the word "story" is counterproductive. if you're turning the pyramid upside down, you have a problem telling a story. not everything has a beginning, middle and end. whenyou have many pieces of information pulled together, it's a different animal. the problem with where we're at in history is that we're modernist -trained. in the postmodern world experience is the teacher. so is participation. It's all much bigger than what we think. getting from modern to postmodern is a rough road. We need to be open and fluid and ready to change.

 Jay: a story may not be what the product is.

 Robert: the Heritage foundation and others on the right are looking closely at what's going on here. whatever shape it takes, the area that makes the most sense to focus on, to get bloggers involved. Last ;year we did the first training for bloggers in Nashville. Did it later in Washington Press Club. folks on the right have sent "project visibility" being run by TWI in seattle. Eric Kavanaugh wrote a piece on open source gov't. Katrina recovery. Tracking moneys for disaster relief. Tools being usede for biz, thanks to SarBox, can make every step of financial control can be reported to a centralized database. Bloggers and citizens can tap into this. The model is one hwere everybody can see the data. And participate in the work.

 Jay: what are the motivations?

 Lisa: example. there is a project called starbuckschallenge. Starbucks says one thing, and these guys can kick Starbucks tires, tag posts on trials at actual starbucks. Look at Frappr. They've had interactions. Challenge-response with Starbucks, tracking corporate promises.

 George McDonald:

 what is publication? newspapers are "published". But beforehand ... have to make it clear that they're working on a story. may involve continuing threads.

 you can partner with existing communities of interest.. police blotters, local sports. effective stringers, basically. you may be able to break stories from places like that.

 Jay: pubs have a fear about exposing works in progress. somebody might steal. they need to fear less.

 Mark Glaser: MSNBC has a database of contributors. they check eveyrthing coming in and going out. There will also be many business models that will work. Nothing wrong with that. All will work in their own ways.

 Tom Maddox:

 biggest success in the blogosphere was bfinging down dan rather. the real story is still untold. that story didn't fall out of a tree.

 we should do away with the notion that a single story tells the truth. there are many stories.

 Dan G: invite different kinds of communities of expertise into diffrerent stories. one interesting possibility is to pursue the stock option scandal with people who have a stake: shareholders. this could be done by distributing the work to shareholders.

 Jay: if you do a complete set of something, eg. all wallmarts, you have a better story.

 ___: ask "what do we not know?" and put it out to the 'sphere. they'll respond.

 ___: there are a lot of niche marekts where pelple are not yet aware of this at all. We need a lot more outreach. Example; healthcare. needs to be done in every area.

 Jeremy: look at the wallmart outreach. churches looking at teaching how to use blogs... some want to control bloggers, when the right mindset is "how do we work with these people."

 ___: Mitch Ratcliffe has been talking about "paramedia". Look it up.

 ___: I read blogs for parallel tracks on the same news. Brad DeLong, for example. It's a totally different reality. Journalists can pout to different streams of blog on the same reality being covered.

 Doc: Context and challenge: be the wikipedia for your region. Like wikipdia, but across time. Look at each "story " as still open. Response: open the archives, necessary

 ___: Databases essential for going back and finding that this is an ongoing investigation. The concept of the story may change, but pelple still want a summary or a snapshot in time. The typical reader won't be interested in all the details.

 ___: analogy: stock scandals, came out of a company that does forensic accounting... that sort of expertise does not exist in the primary journalism community. marry expertise with reporting. An accountant can sell their expertise to a hedge fund for a pile and to a paper for a pittance. But we need to expand journalism beyond the few. teach current institutions to see the potential of technology. form new institutionsl to sponsor this work. needs to be3 a central organizing point. work on knowlege, technology.

 Jay: more happens after stories are broken.

 Niall: is saying "I ahve been a journalist" really authoritative.

 jay: no.

 Ken: over time,k say "this is what we know right now." now, what will motivate you to participate in a process like that.

 Marin McKeay: over the last 6 months computerworld, which had a full staff to begin with, has reached out to bloggers to contribute. Can continue blogging.

 Jay: diverse groups and distributed labor... what can we know thorugh open source methods that would be unknowable any other way.

 Phillip Torrone: steal the format of the link I'll put in the IRC.

 ptorrone: http://www.economist.com/finance/d isplaystory.cfm?story_id=6972477

 ___: there are lots of bloggers offering experise, but hte papers are hearing-impaired. (sorry, missed the first part of that)

 Enoch Choi (medical blogger): expand the idea of professionalism in a particular area to include, as part of the professional ism, openness about the knowlege thatyou have, and not hoard it. have that be part of the mindset that you'll be sharing. if we can inculcate that in the professional idea of peoole in training...

 jay: part of pro responsibi9lity should be to share with the public.

 Christopher Carfi: we might need to change the idea of what the final product is. Used to be a srtory. Now could be a permalink. Change the idea of the final product to what Dave calls the river. something that by definition will change over time. Includes more perspectives, more facts. (everything is protean, ]provisional). changint the prodeuct to a river or a stream that changes over time. Chanigng the viewpoint of people in this room so we all know there isn't a single version of truth.

 Buzz: there is a real-time problem. Pelople see this stuff as somethingn that's "happened". So they wait for what happens tnext before they step in. Real peoplle need to perceive what's going to happen. To see the river. need to know how to leap onto the ice floes. need tools that say 'this stream is happening, and you can contribute at any time'.

 Jay: in order to motivate people to participate, pelople need to see what's happening. see their parts.

 Sylvia: don't teach civics, teach reporting. make them reporters. Look at Dan's Bayosphere. We can get rid of papers. What has the Chron ever done for us. We are part of the digital cities initiative providing wifi access for all citizens. free computerws, interenet access. cell phones. Lunch: Maya for Mexican...




Last update: Friday, June 23, 2006 at 8:17:00 PM Eastern. Number of updates: 30.