Crowdsourcing

For me, crowdsourcing, particularly in journalism, felt so nature that it wasn’t until recently that I fully realized how engrained in our culture it had become. It took someone in a meeting suggesting crowdsourcing as a fundraising opportunity for me to think “whoa, whoa what’s happening here?” Until then, I had enjoyed the benefits of open source software, looked at people’s cell phone pictures on the news and used iStockphoto without giving it much thought. It encompasses so many things that you hardly even notice it, but at the same time it is hard to ignore it’s impact.

With the emphasis on the masses, there is a paradigm shift in how news is being reported. As the When the Media Meet Crowds of Wisdom article stated “A significant accomplishment of the new media world is a shifting of power from publishers and advertisers toward the people.” Although, it is debatable on whether or not this is true journalism, I think elements of it bring great perspective. This is especially the case when it comes to eye-witness reporting, like people taking pictures during the 9/11 attacks the same article mentioned. A random person writing in the Cincinnati Enquirer I’m not so sure about, but I guess it is no different than all the blogs I peruse.

Now, as far as Wired Article goes, I can see how crowdsourcing can really hurt someone’s business. One of my former roommates was a photography major and she used to get so mad that anyone with an iPhone or Instagram now considers themselves a photographer. The graphic design students I work with have similar worries. The same rule applies with iStockphoto. And although I cannot speak to the quality or originality of stock photography, there are always going to be people that don’t care about those things and just want to go the cheap route.

1. Do you feel that the way news organizations have incorporated crowdsource reporting has hurt the traditional view of journalism?

2. Given that most of us have a common interest in good design, how do you feel about using companies such as iStockphoto with often drab images vs. a real photographer with perhaps a higher price tag?

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5 Responses to Crowdsourcing

  1. I think the photog/stock photo thing depends on the issue. If it’s a specific event, or building or people you need photographed, you can’t really get that via stock photos. I do think that being a full time photographer is a much different job now than it was 10 years ago. It would be a good idea to diversify talents.

  2. naseemspeaks says:

    Hi Emily. I think that crowdsourcing in journalism has actually broadened views in many ways. Citizen reporting and letter to the editor open up other perspectives. At the same time, I do notice some media sites using stock photos instead of real ones for their articles. There’s usually something off about these images and to me tarnishes the reputation of the website. However, I do think some iStock photos are definitely worth of brochures and websites!

  3. I think it has changed the boundaries of journalism. You can’t beat the access to so many new perspectives of a story – be it through eyewitness photos or accounts. But it also speeds up the saturation of a story, where the facts may or may not be exactly right at the time of the fervor in covering an event, and may or may not be cleared up by the time people lose interest. With such coverage of events from both professional journalists and the “people on the streets”, stories that used to occupy readers’/viewers’ attention for days or weeks are now able to hold their attention for hours and maybe a day.

  4. I have to agree with Shannon. I think the incorporation of crowdsourcing has brought on a new dimension of journalism and is somewhat the way they incorporated “networking” into the news. Reporters are always trying to find leads and I think twitter, crowdsourcing and the like has brought on a whole new level of stories for them. It also allows us as listeners to somewhat identify with certain stories more.

  5. alanyskpl says:

    I think it is beneficial to have crowdsourcing in journalism. It gives more views and different voices to our traditional news. There are times where one reporter might not be able to get on scene or there could be multiple things happening in multiple locations and crowdsourcing is a great way over covering more ground. As far as using iStock photos, I do see a lot of potential in some of the work on that site so I think its definitely usable compared to expensive photographer work.

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