Saturday, August 25, 2007

Osprey: Let the readers do the work

It appears Canadian newspaper chain Osprey has the answer to fewer reporters on the street: Do it yourself, dear reader.

No more will a reporter or photographer have to cover an event in the communities Osprey papers serve. Heck, by the sounds of things they can't even spare someone to do the community events calendar. Yup -- it's all up to the reader now. And they have to find their way to it online rather than have it laid out for them on the pages of a newspaper.

Like we've said many times before, just because someone has a shovel doesn't mean they will be bothered to fill in the pot hole in front of their house. There may be a few people who sign up to report their news, but most readers want to do just that -- read.

(Didn't we just see fail?)

... our foray into "citizen media." To many it's a nebulous concept, but it will soon become clear enough. Citizen media essentially allows everyone to become amateur journalists by posting opinions, articles, photographs and videos on a site that will be moderated by users themselves.


Your group is having a guest speaker. You can list that speaker and topic on our community calendar, then go to town, so to speak, on your group's category in our website. Does your guest speaker have video snippets from past speeches? Post them on our site. Does the speaker have copies of past speeches, or articles that offer insight into the topic? Post them. The overall result is to make the speaker and the topic more compelling by giving people more information ahead of time in an easy, accessible forum.

Your sports organization is organizing a tournament, or there us a big game coming up. Got some video from past games? Post it. Or perhaps some of the team's players can give their take on the game in a video.

But it doesn't stop with the big rep teams. Minor soccer leagues can post standings, goal scorers, photos and video clips of games. Swimming teams can post a video of that big race to the finish. Figure skaters can post photos or video of the big triple-toe-loop and the award ceremonies.

Our new site will be particularly useful for schools. Does the band have a big concert coming up? Advertise it ahead of time, then post some video on our site afterwards. Is there a school play in the works? Post a video of the rehearsals.

The potential is endless and much of it undiscovered.

Yup. A bean counter's view of the perfect newsroom. Of course, the surge of lawsuits sure to follow the postings of readers unfamiliar with libel law may put an end to the experiment sooner rather than later.

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