Monday, March 10, 2008

"Crowd Sourcing"

A second article we read in class this week, by Emily Yahr, discussed "crowd sourcing," the practice of asking readers/viewers to send in their own stories about what is happening. The author of the article linked above writes about the Des Moines Register's use of crowd sourcing to find out where people were when the Interstate 35 W bridge in Minnesota collapsed. On this blog, I've linked the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's interactive feature in which you can read the stories of the people in every car on the bridge that day. This information was gathered in part through the type of crowd sourcing discussed in Yahr's article. The main page contains a link asking visitors to the site to help the paper fill in the missing details. You can listen to the audio interviews with several of the survivors and read about the lives of the victims.

Even before I read Yahr's article, I thought of the Star-Tribune site. I think I've mentioned it before in reference to how technology can enhance reporting. Gathering information such as this while an event is happening can paint such a vivid picture afterward.

While I understand and share some of the concerns about people responding to inquiries not being honest about who they are, I think the Web and technologies such as cell phone videos can really enhance reporting and add real human elements to the story. Reporters often are present for the aftermath of a disaster, but being there right in the thick of things gives a much different picture of the story. Videos and posts sent right from the scene are so much more meaningful than interviews done after the fact, when the shock of things affects the memory of the subjects.


Jill A said...

I didn't quite understand the last sentance, is something supposed to be highlighted?

It's great to see newspapers taking advantage of what the Web has to offer and how it can be used.

Jobetta said...

In the code I used to make it possible to hide long posts behind jumps, you're supposed to replace the words "And here is the rest of it" with the part of the post you want behind the link. I just put a short post and forgot to delete the filler words. Oops!