Just when you thought there was already enough social media in your life, here comes Quora. The startup founded by former Facebook executives raised $14 million last year and was valued at nearly $90 million before even releasing a product. Now Quora is live, and the journalism community is buzzing.

“As more journalists have joined the network over the last week there has been a surge in journalism related questions and discussions,” notes Journalism.co.uk. Writer Kristine Lowe says reporters can use Quora to drum up story ideas the same way they have been using Twitter. The difference is that Quora doesn’t have a 140-character length limit and lets you follow topics as well as people, which is a feature journalists should love. It also connects to members’ Facebook and Twitter accounts, enabling friends and followers to monitor their questions, answers and topics as part of their news feeds. Caroline McCarthy has a good summary of the perfect storm that’s created so much Quora buzz.

Quora describes itself as “a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.” Topics are raised in a question-and-answer format and answers are updated in real-time. You can follow questions, topics and people. The crowdsourced organization scheme is quick and reasonably comprehensive. The “Newspapers” topic, for example, shows the most recent additions by default, with options to view open questions or “best questions,” which are those with the most favorable votes from members. There are also subtopics for individual newspapers. Anyone can curate a topic.

Search results on Quora continue the question-and-answer metaphor. For trivia nuts, it’s a gold mine, but it’s also a good way to stimulate story ideas and find sources. Want to know how the “often prickly relationship between PR people and journalists can be improved?” There’s a topic on that, and every respondent is a potential source.

Writing in the Globe & Mail, Amber MacArthur comments that “Unlike Twitter in its early days, Quora appears to have a base of members that stretch beyond early adopters. Even business executives, such as former AOL Chairman and CEO Steve Case, are answering dozens of questions.” In fact, Case recently used Quora to answer a question about how much it cost AOL to distribute millions of CDs in the 1990s, which is a topic AOL has never chosen to discuss.

Writing on Poynter, Mallary Jean Tenor has six ways journalists can use Quora. She notes that D.C. online startup TBD has asked their readers to tag content that editors should follow and experimented with crowdsourcing a story on where to find the best pizza in Washington. Some journalists have also used Quora to solicit interview questions and to generate quick answers to difficult-to-search queries like “What percentage of 20-somethings subscribe to print newspapers?

Elias Bizannes suggests that Quora is the future of journalism. Chris Crum says it’s kind of like Twitter with quality control, and that can be both a good and a bad thing. We’re curious to hear your thoughts. Is this an evolution or journalism or just another tool journalists can use?

Comments

comments

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 13th, 2011 at 9:33 am and is filed under Citizen Journalism, Future of Journalism, Journalism, NewMedia, Newspapers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

15 Comments

  1. January 13, 2011 @ 11:19 pm



    [...] Quora: Evolution of Journalism or Another Time Sink? | Newspaper Death Watch [...]

  2. January 14, 2011 @ 10:38 am



    Jury is still out.
    1. Need additional anecdotes to the Steve Case one about AOL.
    2. For me, personally, the questions I care about are not being answered.

    Posted by Dave Barnes
  3. January 14, 2011 @ 10:47 am



    Well Dave Barnes, why don’t you get on there and ask them?

    Posted by msbpodcast
  4. January 14, 2011 @ 8:02 pm



    [...] Quora: Evolution of Journalism or Another Time Sink? | Newspaper Death Watch (tags: crowdsourcing quora) Category: Delicious [...]

  5. January 14, 2011 @ 8:32 pm



    [...] Shared Quora: Evolution of Journalism or Another Time Sink? | Newspaper Death Watch. [...]

  6. January 15, 2011 @ 10:50 am



    The questions that I care about have been asked.
    Good, valuable answers have not been provided.

    Posted by Dave Barnes
  7. January 16, 2011 @ 3:42 pm



    [...] mal eine Stunde Zeit nehmen, um das System zu testen.” Eine weitere Analyse gibt es bei Newspaper Death Watch. Mashable geht das Thema praktisch an: 9 ways to get more out of [...]

  8. January 17, 2011 @ 7:46 am



    What measures have been tried to save newspapers?…

    I am looking for any measures that might have been taken since the industry has taken a massive slapping in 2007, coming down 30% in the U.S. and 25% in the U.K. My major interest lies in French newspapers, global information is also relevant however. …

    Posted by Quora
  9. January 17, 2011 @ 3:43 pm



    Let me repeat, why don’t you get on there and ask them until you get a satisfactory answer; then tell us.

    That would be participatory journalism.

    Posted by msbpodcast
  10. January 17, 2011 @ 4:11 pm



    @msbpodcast
    a. I am not a journalist so I don’t care about participatory journalism.
    b. If a question has been asked, what is the point of asking it again?
    c. Answers to my questions of interest have been provided. They just haven’t been useful answers.

    Posted by Dave Barnes
  11. January 17, 2011 @ 9:04 pm



    What are the best blogs/websites about journalism?…

    Apart from the aforementioned websites and blogs, here are a few more I follow regularly on Twitter (in no particular order) 1. Overheard in the newsroom the facebook page is even better, as you can read real journalists- comments) 2. A blog that docum…

    Posted by Quora
  12. January 18, 2011 @ 8:45 am



    [...] Quora: Evolution of Journalism or Another Time Sink? | Newspaper … [...]

  13. February 8, 2011 @ 9:25 pm



    [...] is Quora, as described in this NDW article, truly the future of journalism? Probably not. I fear that like yahoo-answers and [...]

  14. May 23, 2012 @ 11:41 am



    a journalist is the eye opener of the society and should be given due respect, the future of every nation relay greatly on his or her work of sourcing information, in summary, it is the nation depending on the journalist for its future and not the reverse. Am A journalism student at Kenya Polytechnic university college in Kenya_East Africa

    Posted by wankara stephene
  15. May 29, 2012 @ 11:09 am



    my article of 23.5.2012 did not target any group, my opinion was based on the fact that society needs awareness about the current events and issues and it comes back to journalists. It is with sincere apology to friends offended; but in my view I would say that a society without news is dead and conservative to old retrogressive ideologies. Technology has thrived greatly and so media society right from Sumerian’s early writings–Chinese arts to present day print and electronic devices so it is not a question of 13% profit or less it is a question of serving the society.

    Posted by wankara Stephene