Friday, 24 October 2008

Getting the readers involved in shaping the news

I'm doing some work at the moment on web tools that journalists can use to make their jobs simpler and more effective.

So this piece - How Audience Input Shaped Our Financial Crisis Coverage - by Roland Legrand is very timely.

Legrand tells how his Belgian newspaper De Tijd used CoverItLive (for which I have nothing but praise and could be improved only by the addition of a transcribe-to-text feature, hint, hint) to enable the readers to play a part in the morning editorial meetings to help shape their coverage of the financial crisis.

I won't say much more except to urge you to read the article in full (I found it rather inspirational) but I'll quote this bit:

Journalists were bewildered by the stress of the extreme workload and massive influx of suggestions from the community. At the same time, they realized that there was a mass audience out there, making contact, looking over our shoulders as we wrote stories, sending in stories that could be useful to us, and sharing every shred of information they could find which they believed we should integrate in our newsgathering. They literally co-directed our coverage.
Our journalists have used community forums to achieve something apppraoching the same thing, but not CoverItLive which has the benefit of offering a real-time conversation. If we could contrive a way to get our readers together on a regular basis in this way we might have a radical new way to write for our audiences.

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