Developing participatory news

Posted on: March 10, 2010

The challenge for media players in the networked information economy is to successfully negotiate engagement, packaging and influence, whilst considering loyalty and financial sustainability throughout.

Most recently Google’s Hal Varian told the flailing newspaper industry that it needs to increase engagement with users in order to survive. Rising to this challenge, and building upon Charlie Beckett’s model for networked journalism (from his book Supermedia), this news development process factors in participation at every stage of a story’s evolution (best viewed full screen):


4 Responses to "Developing participatory news"

Thanks Mariam –

I like your outline of an engagement process. I think we need to be sure that we both create small enough in the first instance, and also provide a continual “wiki” of critical topics that can be modified by many trusted sources.

As I wrote in 2008 – “We have to start with the creation of the “elements” in the first instance. By starting with each source, quote, factual statement, picture, graphic, audio clip or video clip as an isolated element, or “tweet”, properly tagged with automatic tagging engines, those elements can be packaged or searched directly, allowing the most transparent view of local information.”

Matt Thompson, Jay Rosen and others will be discussing the “how” of context at SXSW next week.

Your engagement process will enhance any context process.


Thanks Chuck,

I particularly like what you say here – “The Complete Community Connection would expand the current reliance on packaged stories in both directions – back toward the original elements, offering transparency, and forward toward a summary of local knowledge in a local wiki.”

I think a major challenge with this is the competitive nature of journalism – which means reporters are more inclined towards holding onto their ‘golden rolodex’ than developing a wiki containing what they need to ‘break a story’ or put their name to an exclusive investigation.

And here – “For the first time, we have a medium perfectly equipped to capture and deliver both episodic and systemic information. How will these two modes of information interact on the Web? What sort of design and storytelling structures must we invent to impart context?”

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently – one simple example I like is how the dot earth blog uses Apture
to include contextual multimedia. Also – did you see how the BBC’s virtual revolution packaged up a documentary from multiple sources?


Thanks Mariam – for engaging in this discussion, and for the links.

The BBC Virtual Revolution is an engaging experiment. I really appreciated the link. I still would like easier access to the elements, and elements and perspectives created by others.

As to your concern on the motivation of journalists, would making the journalist the brand help?


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