Reading Response #3

Your reading assignment for this week is Chapter 3 of the Briggs text as well as these articles:

Jeff Howe, The Rise of Crowdsourcing

Justin Elliott, Jesse Eisinger, and Laura Sullivan, The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster and Help Us Report on the American Red Cross

Question: under what circumstances should bloggers and/or journalists use crowdsourcing?

Respond in the comments section of this post by 9 a.m., Sunday, February 22.

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17 thoughts on “Reading Response #3

  1. In a world where journalists are asked “to do more with less” on a regular basis and where consumers want more and more as instant as possible, it only makes sense that crowd sourcing be used as a helpful tool. As much as they try to be, journalists can not be everywhere all the time. They cannot get an on-the-scene scoop for every story. However, when a newsworthy event happens, there will be people there. Why not utilize their first hand accounts to help tell the news story? In this digital age there are so many ways to communicate with a mass audience, so asking for help will most likely receive an answer. As Briggs said in Chapter 3, when it comes to specific projects, “a group of committed [and community powered] individuals can outperform a small group of experienced (and paid) professionals.” There are people out there with necessary information, what better way to get that information for a story than to ask them for it?

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  2. While the likes of Quora and Yahoo Answers have often shown that “hobbyists, part-timers, and dabblers” (as the Wired.com article calls them) can be a great source of information, I do have a bit of skepticism when it comes to journalists utilizing them for hard facts. Such information, which could also be obtained by a professional, should not be a part of crowdsourcing in my opinion. For the sake of credibility, and in acknowledging the openness of the Internet, confirming all crowdsourced information is crucial in maintaining the respect of journalism.

    One exception to this idea, however, could be the use of social media in the Egyptian Revolution (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/books/review/how-an-egyptian-revolution-began-on-facebook.html%3Fpagewanted=all%26_r=0), where limited government access to information made reliance upon individual postings a major means of reporting on this. Even after Egypt’s government launched a blackout of social media and Internet services in an attempt to calm the uprising, Google and Twitter saw the value of civilian voices and crowdsourcing, providing them with alternative means of sharing their information (http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/02/01/google.egypt/).

    Many opportunities have arisen for such information flow. On a smaller level, the app Waze (https://www.waze.com/) allows users to update a driving map with information regarding traffic, potholes, gas prices, and even lurking police enforcement. I’ve also been urged to peruse Yik Yak for potential story ideas for the school newspaper. Following up with such postings could similarly benefit journalists and bloggers.

    If done correctly, crowdsourcing is an efficient and inexpensive way for journalists and bloggers to obtain photos, as was shared in the Wired.com story. However, for those without adequate knowledge of web citing and compensation, many photos not initially intended for crowdsourcing purposes have been illegally used.

    I tend to think that crowdsourcing is best used when it taps into individuals “who have had personal experiences that might fit with a story, such as students who have recovered from drug addiction, or people who have family members in prison” (Briggs 69). Briggs provides an example of a woman in Tucson, Arizona, who shared her perspective on a water shortage to assist PBS “NewsHour.” In reading the responses to the ProPublica American Red Cross information request, I saw that several users might be able to provide similar feedback. User pszymeczek says “Relatives and friends of mine have had horrible experiences with the ARC dating back over 60 years or more.” As a journalist, I would see him or her as a great addition to this story in terms of public reaction and opinion. While he or she may not be able to provide a credible document, their experience can help to make the story more personal and lively.

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  3. The way I see it the circumstances crowdsourcing should be used by bloggers and journalists is when there is a breaking news story. By utilizing the public for example the online community a blogger/journalist could easily obtain new information at a faster pace than wait for local news outlets to come out with new details. Crowdsourcing can also be used to play a role in television, in the article The Rise of Crowdsourcing there was a section about Michael Hirschorn and his show on VH1 Web Junk 20 a show about viral videos that I was very familiar with when it was popular. When the show began to earn high ratings the viral videos became harder to license so Hirschorn solicited viewers to send in video clips as part of a contest. Using crowdsourcing like this allows you to use the public to your advantage by allowing you to stay ahead of the competition.

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  4. Crowdsourcing, coined by Jeff Howe, is a very efficient way to gather lots of information that you otherwise would not have. This is definitely important for journalists and bloggers if they want to share a story from different perspectives or understand it better so they can effectively convey it. As Briggs says in chapter 3 “News organizations have used crowdsourcing to find instances of voting problems, to follow local distributions of disaster payments from the federal government, and to map potholes on city streets.” Indicating, that crowdsourcing can be used for a variety of different reasons. I think a great example of an effective use of crowdsourcing would be the Boston Marathon bombing, where people sent it any types of videos or photos they had and contributed to the coverage. One of the photos even identified a suspect, but failing to confirm and verify the photo, innocent people were accused. Therefore, I believe journalists should use crowdsourcing as a means to gain more info for a better story/coverage so long as the information they receive is always checked and verified.

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  5. According to the Brigg’s text, crowdsourcing is when “the internet allows enthusiastic communities to come together to provide the value for a given Web site. Crowdsourcing focuses that community power on a specific project and demonstrates how a group of committed individuals can outperform a small group of experienced (and paid) professionals.” With this being said, I feel that bloggers and/or journalists should always use crowdsourcing. Usually, crowdsourcing is used in particular circumstances such as natural disasters. “The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster” and “Help Us Report on the American Red Cross” by Justin Elliot, Jesse Eisinger, and Laura Sullivan wrote articles about the infamous natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac to bring communities together to help, due to the amount of damage that was done to the areas in their paths. However, as I mentioned before, I do not think that crowdsourcing should be used in just these circumstances. There are many other circumstances, such as big companies in which crowdsourcing can be useful. In regards to all issues, it is important for communities to come together to give their input because, as said in the Brigg’s text, “Many hands makes light work.”

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  6. Crowdsourcing seems to appear as appropriate to me in times of sharing information and extending conversations concerning urgent or important matters. I was shocked to read the article on The Red Cross, sounding as a scam. To have important figures of authority, such as the president, or persons of fame such as models, and request help from the community to help disaster relief is great publicity for the organization and seems not so much for the people of the disaster. Crowdsourcing had enabled the Red Cross to obtain reasonable amounts of money although to not have it spent fully towards the disaster relief is appalling. If it hadn’t been for crowdsourcing as well, who would had known that The Red Cross has been deceiving everyone in the first place. It’s pretty much a give and take for in my point of view. Crowdsourcing gets information across and develops long-term discussions. Without crowdsourcing, there wouldn’t be any attention drawn to any important matters. The attention drawn develops discussions for those who agree and disagree as well. As Briggs discusses crowdsourcing,it’s very true to how news organizations are retrieving there news-crowdsourcing, obviously. Journalists feed off of sharing and obtaining information from an audience, whomever that audience may be. As bloggers or journalists, you can build a network around a particular group. Briggs had exemplified what we are trying to do on our class blogs. We had chosen a topic, and are carrying out discussions as our peers comment and add to our discussion. We may ask questions as well in hopes to further learn more from somebody else’s response. Crowdsourcing also gains you a trust with the audience you reach as you ask for their helping hand or thoughts. In the Rise of Crowdsourcing, the gain in trust and request for an audience exemplifies how businesses are furthering themselves and saving people money. If crowdsourcing is benefiting a community by saving money, it seems to have proven to only be as beneficial.

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  7. This is such a difficult question because I truly believe that our generation is solely based on crowdsourcing for life beyond the media. As defined, crowdsourcing is when you obtain information or input into a particular task or project by enlisting the services of a number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the internet. But you can easily relate that to our society just solely on the demand and pressure of approval that is needed daily between our professional lives, appearance, and social connections. Social media is the biggest example of crowdsourcing. For example, LinkedIn is now one of the main search engines that companies utilize to network and find candidates for jobs available in their company. That right there is obtaining information and possibility getting services from people via Internet. As unfortunate as it is for someone like Harmel, a freelance photographer who is losing business solely over a creation of a less expensive stock photo website, its sadly what our generation is becoming. And as much as people want to try to resist the change, it’s inevitable. You will have to adapt and create new ways. Which means our world is going to have to get used to crowdsourcing.

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  8. Crowdsourcing, or obtaining information/data from groups of people, allows us access to large amounts of information that was previously unavailable. This is one of the positives of crowdsourcing for Journalists. When we need information for a story or somewhere to start crowdsourcing is a good place. However, crowdsourcing only works in some situations according to Briggs, “Crowdsourcing works in some situations, but not in others,” Cohn said. “If there were a jar of gumballs in this room, I’d want everyone’s help in determining how many gumballs were in the jar. If I needed brain surgery, I don’t want anyone in this room to help. No offense.” This is an interesting analogy in breaking up when to use crowdsourcing and why. Are the people who are giving you your information a reliable source in that field? Good Journalists and Bloggers take into account the accuracy, reliability, and quality of the information they are crowdsourcing. Again Briggs explains the truth behind crowdsourcing, “The “network” is really just a powerful online database and system of tools for finding sources, making it easier for reporters to find people with specific expertise or personal experiences relevant to particular story assignments.” An interesting example of when Crowdsourcing was used in both good and bad ways was the Boston Marathon Bombing. Through crowdsourcing iPhone photos and videos allowed for more footage that would previously not be available, even a picture of the suspect. But because of this source that has little verification innocent men were being accused as suspects of the Boston Bomber. The Hurricanes also show another time when crowdsourcing was appropriately used. The media was potraying the Red Cross as doing everything possible to help the Victims when in reality they did little to help the people suffering great losses. This is when crowdsourcing should be used. Crowdsourcing should be used as a tool to help journalists and bloggers report on a part of the story that they might not otherwise have access too. However, there should be some boundaries to its use.

    Briggs, Mark E. (2012-10-23). Journalism Next: A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing (Kindle Locations 1597-1598). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.

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  9. I think that bloggers and journalists should always use crowdsourcing. While in the example in Jeff Howe’s article was explaining the detrimental effects of it on self employed photographers, it would have a different effect when used by journalists and bloggers. Crowdsourcing is an important tool to be used, as told in “The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster”. If it weren’t for crowdsourcing, there wouldn’t be real coverage on the Red Cross’ flop while trying to respond to Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac. If it were up to the Red Cross and the media, everyone would think that the Red Cross did it’s job. They, however, managed several mistakes and to my opinion, one real atrocity — taking thousands of pork meals to a Jewish community in need of aid.
    Journalists should use crowdsourcing especially when trying to get the truth out, when the mainstream doesn’t seem to make sense. Instead of asking the officials, it makes much more sense to ask people are more inclined to be honest.

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  10. Well first things first what is crowd surfacing? Crowd surfacing is when bloggers , news reporters, ect gather information or funding form various amounts of people . hence the name “crowd” and “sourcing”. The point of Crowdsourcing is to take ideas and current situations going on in life and outsource that to the crowd of people around you, to get different point of views from everyone. Some examples of crowd surfacing is Wikipedia, ask.com, or yahoo questions online. These sites not only create an overall point of view of their own, but others give their point of view and personal experience depending on the topic. I think the benefits of crowdsourcing when it comes to blogging, is that you’re getting a point of view from various people. You’re getting new ideas, participation from others, and many more. In a personal experience, I was “crowd surfaced” in December and thanksgiving I was asked by a blogger/news reporter if officers were doing their job by keep the New York protected during the Christmas sales and black Friday sales. I was able to give my input. crowdsourcing should be used when a major situation is going on in our country. Instead of always listening to what news reporter have to say, they go around asking for other people’s input, which is a great thing o do because it shows that our opinions matter. Another thing I liked to mention was Kayce and Thomas’s comment and the chapter three reading in Journalism Next (CH.3) , I do think “PIN” is a great tool for sharing personal thoughts and feelings. It allows bloggers to read everyone’s point of view and it offers outside sorces. like stated before in our previous class blog “Its not all about you” and getting information from other people is amazing, There’s nothing more that I love than hearing other people’s point of view. Close-minded people should GO SOMEHWERE! BEING OPENED MINDED IS THE BEST TYPE OF PEOPLE TO SUROUND YOURSELF WITH. I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE

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  11. Well first things first what is crowd surfacing? Crowd surfacing is when bloggers , news reporters, ect gather information or funding form various amounts of people . hence the name “crowd” and “sourcing”. The point of Crowdsourcing is to take ideas and current situations going on in life and outsource that to the crowd of people around you, to get different point of views from everyone. Some examples of crowd surfacing is Wikipedia, ask.com, or yahoo questions online. These sites not only create an overall point of view of their own, but others give their point of view and personal experience depending on the topic. I think the benefits of crowdsourcing when it comes to blogging, is that you’re getting a point of view from various people. You’re getting new ideas, participation from others, and many more. In a personal experience, I was “crowd surfaced” in December and thanksgiving I was asked by a blogger/news reporter if officers were doing their job by keep the New York protected during the Christmas sales and black Friday sales. I was able to give my input. crowdsourcing should be used when a major situation is going on in our country. Instead of always listening to what news reporter have to say, they go around asking for other people’s input, which is a great thing o do because it shows that our opinions matter. Another thing I liked to mention was Kayce and Thomas’s comment and the chapter three reading in Journalism Next (CH.3) , I do think “PIN” is a great tool for sharing personal thoughts and feelings. It allows bloggers to read everyone’s point of view and it offers outside sorces. like stated before in our previous class blog “Its not all about you” and getting information from other people is amazing, There’s nothing more that I love than hearing other people’s point of view. Close-minded people should GO SOMEHWERE! BEING OPENED MINDED IS THE BEST TYPE OF PEOPLE TO SUROUND YOURSELF WITH.

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  12. Crowd-sourcing to me is actually a really interesting and useful way to get the latest information on a topic. Personally, I only crowd-source when there is a bad storm coming and I want to see how bad other areas got hit. What’s awesome about crowd sourcing is anyone can post regarding the subject with pictures, videos, or simply an update post. I think Crowd-sourcing can be very useful for bloggers because it allows a person to get reliable sources and the most recent information. After I read chapter three, I realized how much crowd-sourcing is expanding. It is now covering numerous topics and covering breaking news, which is also beneficial to just about anyone. As suggested in chapter three, people can register with PIN which easily grants you access to just about any source and topic imaginable. One way to crowd source is beta-blogging. Beta-blogging is way for bloggers to get a better understanding of the topic they are hesitant about. to elaborate, beta-blogging allows a blogger who is unsure of their topic, to read up on other sources and posts to help them decide which route to take. To recap, i think that bloggers should in fact crowd-source, and i don’t think there are any specific circumstances when to do so anymore. So many topics are being covered now, that it could be useful on a day to day basis for some people. I especially think crowd-sourcing is important when discussing big companies or franchises such as Red Cross. After reading the Red Cross article, it became apparent to me how useful crowd-sourcing it is. It granted the public eye so much information and it was a smart way for their voices to be heard.

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  13. Reading response 3
    I think one instance where crowdsourcing could be in good use for journalist is during extreme weather, for example in the so-called blizzard we had here in the New York area a few weeks back. I really don’t consider the weather we had a blizzard, but in extreme weather situations crowdsourcing could be a great way to get information from different areas about the weather situation. The information could be anything from pictures, different types of measurements or people describing their situation. But after reading chapter three in Journalism Next, I think crowdsourcing is developing potential in all sorts of issues. I think PIN (The Public Insight Network), where everyone can register by filling out a form about possible areas of expertise, either it’s career wise or more of a personal expertise. With people registering to PIN journalists can potentially find good sources on almost every issue imaginable, from people with experiences with drug abuse to people with Ph.Ds. in politics. These types of sources could of course also be a great help for bloggers and even the general public.
    Another way to use crowdsourcing is betablogging. Betablogging could be useful if you as a journalist or blogger know a topic you want to cover, but don’t really know the specific area you want to cover or which angle to take. By using betablogging you also get the expertise and the point of view from a lot of potential sources leading a discussion for you to take advantage of.
    To summarize I think that during the last 10-15 years or so there have been a lot of different attempts of using crowdsourcing, some more successful then others, but I still think there are still a lot of opportunities out there. I really like concept of crowdsourcing helping to gather information in big corporations and businesses, like the The American Red Cross. I think we live in an age were the public has more ways to be heard then ever before and that the voice of the people means more then ever. I also think that there will only become more ways for public to be heard and more apart of the community.

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