Yesterday I read this really interesting article
about how Dutch publication De Correspondent has built a comprehensive system to crowdsource expertise from its readers.
When they start work on an investigation, De Correspondent’s journalists tell their readers the topic they’re looking into, and ask for help. They have a system to mark experts as ‘verified,’ and the whole system is a slick and seemingly effective one.
It’s sad that this is a novel idea. The internet is the greatest collaboration platform the world has ever known, and yet journalists often keep their work to themselves until they hit 'publish,’ worried about being scooped by a rival if they reveal too much too soon.
At the same time, many young journalists are too subservient to PR people
, taking the line they’re given first time as gospel, and not digging for more.
Meanwhile, the world is changing faster than ever. The public can’t keep up, and all manner of seriously important, public interest stories are blown under the carpet on the breeze of a relentless news cycle that obsesses about a select few topics.
There are more than enough journalistic investigations to go around, and getting help from readers shouldn’t be seen as a last resort anymore. Let’s uncover the truth together.