The Guardian Opens Up Their News Cycle

About a year ago, I wrote about the state of online content publishing and how we need to expand our definition of sharing around our content. Most of the article revolved around what happened after a piece of content was published and how a piece of content could collaboratively grow over time. After I finished that article, I began to execute some ideas in this space, most notably experimenting with opening the writing/editorial process to the public prior to publishing (see example). I tried this three separate times and they were far more successful than I imagined they would be. I had planned to write more about this idea at some point in the future, but time has been in short supply.

This concept seemed like a perfect fit for the journalism space. I thought it would be fascinating to see news rooms open up what they are covering and be able to participate in real-time with the writing and editorial process. It could be messy for sure, but the potential for insight and richer news stories seems tremendous. Well, the Guardian recently announced that it will be making half of that idea a reality by maintaining an open newslist and promoting Twitter discussions with the #opennews hashtag.

All news stories are broken up by subject matter with the general time they are slated to be published and who is working with them along with a way to get a hold of them.

This process allows the public to help fill in a news agency’s gaps and improve their coverage. By knowing what is slated to run or what is not, individuals can provide valuable feedback to news providers early in the coverage process. This can lead to more efficient use of time on covering the most important news stories of the day. Additionally, providing access to each journalist working on the story creates an avenue for those with pertinent information to help the story along. This two-way access equally aids both the public and the journalists.

So many informational sources are becoming increasingly open. I have found the news industry to be abhorrently behind the curve both in how they disseminate information and how they collaborate around it. With luck, this process will catch on with the public, succeed and expand to other news agencies. I look forward to the day when this level of openness is a standard in the news industry.

2 thoughts on “The Guardian Opens Up Their News Cycle”

  1. Great idea, as always. I did read this article after reading this one: – so I’m thinking how to reconcile your argument with this article’s argument that the news corporations, under the model you propose, will benefit from the free, cognitive labour provided by citizens (as suggested by this open newslist system), yet the benefits (profits) do not trickle down to the citizen contributors. That argument again around the free/open/commons movement/cognitive surplus being exploited/co-opted by corporations. And this argument: Journalism isn’t dead but traditional, “big” media is what’s killing it. The profit needs to be redistributed. .. hmmm.

    1. That is such a good point and something I do not have a good answer for. At the end of the day, my interest is in getting the general public more involved in the dissemination and creation of news. I think the long-term vision is a much less centralized news ecosystem. However, in the short-term, I am happy to see private news organizations push this concept along.

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