By paulgillin | July 1, 2007 - 4:43 am - Posted in Journalism, NewMedia

The New York Times‘ David Carr writes of an experimental online publication called AssignmentZero.net that uses collaborative, iterative process to build a news story in real time and with contributors from all walks of life. A recent package on “crowdsourcing” is now live, which is appropriate, since crowdsourcing is essentially what AssignmentZero is doing.

The whole idea of having news reported by citizens and aggregated with work done by professional reporters gives a lot of journalists the willies, but I believe this is the future of journalism. Why would you want to ignore the observations, insight and feedback of knowledgeable sources just because they don’t know what an inverted pyramid is? Increasingly, the job of the editor will be to pull together information from many different sources and organize it into a coherent package that can be looked at from many different perspectives.

Most news stories online today are versions of print stories with a few hyperlinks. In the future, news packages will be constructed from the ground up with the links in mind. The reader should have many access and jumping-off points, and the narrative should permit the reader to dive down where he/she wants and resurface somewhere else. Check out the AssignmentZero package for an example of how this might look.

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