It’s called NewAssignment.net, and the idea is for everyday citizens to fund specific reporting projects that will be assigned to professional journalists. This could be the birth of an entirely new paradigm in reporting: professionals and amateurs working together in a truly networked way. Check it out.
Jay Rosen’s Press Think:
Enterprise reporting goes pro-am. Assignments are open sourced. They begin online. Reporters working with smart users and blogging editors get the story the pack wouldn?t, couldn?t or didn?t. They raise the money too. Q and A explains. There’s $10,000 to test it, courtesy of Craig Newmark.
Alright, what is it?
In simplest terms, a way to fund high-quality, original reporting, in any medium, through donations to a non-profit called NewAssignment.Net.
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 this sense it?s not like donating to your local NPR station, because your local NPR station says, ?thank you very much, our professionals will take it from here.? And they do that very well. New Assignment says: here?s the story so far. We?ve collected a lot of good information. Add your knowledge and make it better. Add money and make it happen. Work with us if you know things we don?t.
But I should add: NewAssignment.Net doesn?t exist yet. I?m starting with the idea.
For whom would the site exist? Who are the customers?
People who are interested in the news, online regularly and accustomed to informing themselves. They would come because New Assignment does stories the regular news media doesn?t do, can?t do, wouldn?t do, or already screwed up. And it allows for participation that is effective.
A sub-group of ?customer? would be donors, wherever they are found. One of the major unknowns is whether such donors exist.
Finally, professional journalists with the required skills and a commitment to truth. They would be there looking for contract work.