Saturday, January 15, 2005

The News Record

One of the more intriguing developments right now is the official
decision of North Carolina's News-Record to
remake their online presence according to principles of open source
journalism. In his plan for the change (called by the Blog Herald "the bloging manifesto for mainstream media in 2005),
project lead Lex Alexander outlines a sobering future for newspapers
that do not find a way to engage their audiences in a more
collaborative fashion.

Given the newspaper industry's declining circulation and advertising
numbers, and the increasing ability of bloggers to force mainstream
media to pay attention to stories like Trent Lott's statement on Strom
Thurmond, the fradulent National Guard documents used by 60 Minutes,
and the risks of electronic voting, Alexander suggests that
revolutionary action is needed: "The very definition of news, or
journalism, is changing. Particularly with the growing popularity of
blogs, online audiences expect to have a say -- not total control, but
a say -- in what we cover, and how, and why."

Some of Alexander's more intriguing recommendations to create open
source journalism at the News-Record:

- recruit local bloggers to cover events that news staff won't, like
school sports
- recruit neighborhood bloggers to provide indepth coverage
- readers rewrite stories the way they think they should be written
- fulltime beat reporter to cover stories readers suggest
- build wikis to write neighborhood histories
- print best of blogs in the paper
- invite readers to blog budget meetings
- link to other media even competitors.

I think this is the biggest thing to come out of the newspaper world since USA Today.