NewAssignment.Net: Open Sourcing the AP

Jay Rosen’s got a new idea–an open source pool of bloggers/journalists who get modest funding to do investigative reporting stories that can be filed and distributed around the net. Called NewAssignment.Net, Rosen’s virtual bureau takes the concepts of the wire service of the past 100+ years (started back in the day of the Pony Express) and gives it a citizen journalism twist (or would that be shove?)
Jay writes: “The site uses open source methods to develop good assignments and help bring them to completion; it employs professional journalists to carry the project home and set high standards so the work holds up. There are accountability and reputation systems built in that should make the system reliable. The betting is that (some) people will donate to works they can see are going to be great because the open source methods allow for that glimpse ahead.”
In other words, this is funding for both independent journalism and the long tail of Evelyn Rodriquez, Chris Albritton, and others.
Jay adds:
“Each assignment would have a price tag, which is simply a realistic budget?- the amount that has to be raised to get the right people and do a very good job. NewAssignment.Net is a non-profit because it?s just about the journalism. Delivering audiences to advertisers isn?t the mission. The budget reflects the actual cost of doing the work, plus overhead for sustaining the site, plus whatever tax we decide to impose to carry New Assignment ahead.”
Extra bits: Craig Newmark’s donating $$, Dan Gillmor is advising, Jeff Jarvis’s start up will provide tools–and who knows who else will get involved?
Susan says: This is potentially a very good idea, especially if Jay & co is shrewd enough (and I think he is) to make sure it’s clear this project is for everyone–from 17 year olds urban kids to rural moms who want to research the power plant, to activists looking to do reporting abroad.

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  1. tish grier says:

    Hi Susan,
    the latest illumination on the project, from Jeff”>,,1854449,00.html”>Jeff Jarvisnotes:
    “He (Rosen) believes one way to support investigative journalism is to invite the public to suggest and assign stories, to donate money to support the reporting, and to help in gathering facts. Key to Rosen’s vision is that paid reporters interview, investigate and write, with the support of citizens, and that editors’ journalistic skills and standards act as a buffer.”
    There’s not much room in the scenario for those who are new journalism voices unless they are already reporters. The citizens are only there for giving money and providing some legwork. I’m not sure that’s what alot of citizens really want to be doing.

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