Jeff Jarvis just came to visit us at work. I guess he thought he was talking to people more important than most of us sat there because he kept talking about the need to open up to contributions from our audiences, to the blogosphere, to all the great stuff that people create and post and share online. Most of us, and I should point out that there were only a couple of people from the news division or management of our organisation in attendance, already get this stuff. That said, I thought some of his soundbites were worthy of blogging:
- (in reference to digg.com) "their authority is their human connection"
- "the highest virtue (in journalism) is transparency, not objectivity"
He also mentioned a project run by a local TV affiliate in Nashville (USA) called NashvilleIsTalking. The management, "realising that most local television was crap", decided to invite bloggers in for training (both directions), promotion (again, both directions), content (yet again, both directions) and to set up an ad network run by the TV station’s ad sales people. Interesting model – and I’m sure that when people see something that I’ve been up to recently they’re going to say I stole the idea from here! ;-(
So Jeff reckons that organisations like the BBC and The Guardian are doing a good job, and getting better at, opening the doors to content from outside our organisation. He didn’t, however, offer any tips on how we might manage the flood of stuff once we do this. It is a REAL issue, both technically and editorially, to deal with the amount of stuff people send us and I’ve been looking for the answer to this problem for as long as I can remember.
At the WeMedia Fringe, I had a brief chat with the head of New Media from Al Jazeera. He said that Al Jazeera hasn’t, so far, actively encouraged their audiences to submit stuff because those with good content already seem to find a way to submit them. They plan to open their doors more widely to audience generated content, the content I call "stuff" for lack of more suitable terms, but haven’t figured out how to do it without starting an uncontrollable and unmanageable flood.
Sorry, no answers here. Yet…