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 firstname.lastname@example.org, interact at yourpaper.co.uk/yoursay or discuss via Twitter @yourTweets
- 10 things that have been crowdsourced in 2011
- Lessons in crowdsourcing: Claire Wardle on using Ushahidi for the Tube strike | Online Journalism Blog
- Crowdsourcing a Better World – NYTimes.com
- 10 Tips « Crowdsourcing: A Fieldguide from WNYC