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How can the power of the crowd help make journalism better?

In this TEDxTalk Paul Lewis talks about the power of citizen journalism and how traditional news media can use it as a resource. Please watch the talk and share your opinions here.

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    Nov 5 2011: Mister Webber the crowd has nothing to do to enhance the journalism. The crowd is no more than crowd. Has no power.
    The community is better to achieve the task. The community have real power and authority.
    • Nov 7 2011: Hi Jalme, if the community had the power, the community would not be in the position. (assume the position) yea!! Sorry, had to say it! Journalists are like politicians. ( am i bad?)
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        Nov 7 2011: No you're not....some journalists are the politicians puppets and some politicians are journalists puppets. The community is integrated by individuals (IN DIVIDERE) is impossible divide an iindivisible individual....the crowd is the masses that obbey, are the tag readers, the servants...no more.

        Today the journalism are living their last days...the network media is stronger and faster than journals.
        The politicians are like flyes, they are crushed with a newspaper.

        We, community have to recover our strategic position.

        Society is no more than a mask formed by persons (PERSONA= PER SONARE, in latin, the mask for theater plays)
        • Nov 8 2011: Good come back Jaime! (tho for a second, I thought, I was going to have to pull out my Latin dictionary) :)
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        Nov 8 2011: tishe.....thanks....latin, greek, sanscrit, occitan, celtic.....old english, classic english, español, español antiguo...todoslos diccionarios all dictionaries are very usefull.....the journalists are just in one form of lenguaje,,,,the chaos dialect.
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    Nov 9 2011: Journalism is the people.
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    Nov 6 2011: Interesting points, all. I think when we talk about crowdsourcing journalism we are really talking about two subjects: the ability of the crowd to document events in a way that professional journalists can gather and interpret and the ability of the crowd to broadcast it’s own interpretations of the news (through blogging and social networks).

    The former -- the crowd’s ability to give journalists an unprecedented bounty of primary documents -- is invaluable. It can sharpen the integrity of a story and intensify journalism’s power and responsibility to seek and expose the truth.

    But finding and exposing truth is only half the battle. A journalist cannot reward and punish the good and bad behavior in a government or business -- only the crowd has that power. That’s where the the crowd’s ability to broadcast their own voice -- now more loudly than ever -- comes into play. Only that voice can determine that nature of the conversation and the actions we take.

    But, I imagine you saying, can’t the crowd can also become a horde? An intemperate mass of reactionary vandals steering us toward inexpert and highly speculative opinions.

    Sure. But journalists often do this, too -- by picking the most sensationalist stories or by simply regurgitating both sides of a story as it’s narrated to them in an effort to ensure neutral unbiased reporting.

    When two sides argue for incompatible points one or both must be wrong. The Truth is always biased toward some side of a given argument. Unbiased reporting that comes from a desire not to alienate readers, listeners, or viewers (forced neutrality) is biased toward the side with the weaker argument. Fear of bias can lead reporters to muddle the truth and can have as devastating an effect as the horde -- especially considering it’s air of integrity.
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    Nov 6 2011: What really distinguishes journalists from citizens as reporters are two things: amount participating, and proficiency. There are (obviously) a lot more everyday people out there than there are Anderson Coopers, but that volume of people does not hold themselves to the same journalistic standards, and may unknowingly present things in a biased way simply because they do not have the experience to purge bias from their reporting.

    That being said, the fact that just about anyone anywhere can blow the whistle on a story is a tremendous asset to news media and having every caring citizen on Earth as eyes and ears has greatly cut down the latency between when the news happens, and when we hear about it.
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    Nov 6 2011: Great question :-) Here is a link to a recent TED talk about one way to do what you asked. It's great.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_lewis_crowdsourcing_the_news.html
  • Nov 6 2011: I am not a journalist. I have grown skeptical of journalists. From Wiki "Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion". If interviewing crowds is part of an investigation to report the truth, then perhaps it is warranted. If the meaning here is to leverage crowds with emotion to somehow get admissions from leaders you would not normally get, I would be against it. Crowd manipulation could lead to riots and people getting hurt. In order to win back skeptics, journalism needs to maintain integrity through verified references, understanding of the situation and providing balance when reporting so that those willing to listen, read or watch get a true understanding of the news story rather than some emotionally charged opinion or special "angle".
    • Nov 7 2011: Hi Robert, I am not interested in today's "journalism" It is one sided. My way or the highway. I watched the links. Very sad. True reporting has been lost? True NEWS is a thing of the past. Did ya all know, that OWS, is fighting over the food? Fighting over the drum players? (Wall Street) I agree with you. HUMANS are pissed off. The media picks and chooses the stories, they cover according to their own agenda. Does that make sense? With respect Mr. Robert. :)
  • Nov 9 2011: The "crowd," using the internet community as the example, is and has been and will continue to make reporting (not journalism) better. Current examples are Syria (where journalists have at best limited access), the ever increasing blogosphere with substantive dialogs, exposure (for lack of what I would challenge more journalists(?) to do....investigative reporting at all levels of government as one example). The question of what constitutes good journalism is a much more difficult question (and yes I recognize it was not asked but it is the root). What is occurring is a separation of abilities and a recognition that truth is often in the eye of the beholder or someone's political wallet to name just two. The grievous error (and blatant everywhere), first ignoring the rants and raves....emotional release, is the lack of a plan, suggestion(s) or action item following "reporting." As an example Obama's recent comment unintentionally overhead by reporters regarding the head of the Israeli gov't. I would liked to have seen following the reporting some simple statements or an opinion poll (causing people to think). Do you think our president is professional in the sense of portraying the Office of the President in the light of what we expect it to be? (and other questions obviously). This is a very simple, and obvious, question with little explanation required. At a more important level the question of Pakistan's intelligence service supporting terrorists while we give them money and our children's lives is significantly more important. This issue, the complaints (for years) by our military have only recently come to light despite both Congress and the oval office knowing and being ineffective in dealing with it, despite knowing about it for years (and little being published in the "media". The obvious questions I leave to your imagination. The more important question might be what separates reporting from journalism? At a minimum potential action items???
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    Nov 6 2011: The key is to find ways of balancing out the negative potential of journalism and the crowd. What I think we need is something akin to the scientific method for the reporting the news and political debates. A common language of reporting and argument based on empirical evidence and some kind of methodical peer review. Something that can take us off the path of speculative and emotionally charged opinion and toward a common moderate discourse.