journalism, news, socialmedia

Crowdsourcing for journalists

Crowd Blur
Crowd Blur by jonicdao - flickr.com/photos/jonicdao

Crowdsourcing is a means of involving/collaborating with the audience in the newsgathering and storybuilding process. It can be useful in gaining a consensus of opinion or locating a knowledgeable source on a subject. It’s not suitable in every situation, but a strategy should be in place should an opportunity arise:

Once the bare bones of a print story are  in place, when you have the basic facts: what, where, when; and if it’s not an exclusive, get a story live and start gaining some consensus from your audience.

Create a short intro focusing on a talking point, something that will affect local people, attempt to engage public opinion through an active voice.

If story or feature is in its early stages and relates to a local issue, national issue with likely local effects or recent event that members of local community are even possibly likely to have an opinion on, push a short description of the story and ask for feedback. Remember even a small niche community group may have strong opinions.

In headline use “Add specific content keywords…” to alert potential interested readers, then timestamp the intro “10.20am: Story in brief…” to highlight the current nature and tell readers as story develops.

Keep body of the story short and to the point, just facts, then encourage witnesses/locals/those with knowledge to interact and engage.

Add a ‘call to action’ question, “What do you think about this proposal/change?” or “Have you been affected by this” then list ways to contact the news team. e.g.:

How has the event affected you? What can be done…?
Comment below, email news@yourpaper.co.uk, interact at yourpaper.co.uk/yoursay or discuss via Twitter @yourTweets

Further reading:

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