Perhaps no industry has been hit harder by the growth of user generated content and news aggregators of all stripes than the mainstream print newspapers. I have discussed this bit (for example, see Who killed the Rocky Mountain News? from John Temple). Many progressive newspapers and television outlets have decided to join social media rather than fight it (see for example, Enhancing TV Viewing with Social Media and Interactivity and BBC Pushes Social Media for Its News Staff for Both News Collection and Impact Monitoring,).
Going Beyond Content Creation to Becoming a News Aggregator
Matthew Ingram recently expanded on ways traditional media can survive and thrive in a Web 2.0 world in his Gigaom piece, Don’t think of it as a newspaper — it’s a data platform. One of his suggestions is it to open up a relationship with outside developers. For example, USA Today APIs include one for all of its news articles, one for reviews of books, movies and other entertainment, and one for its census data. The latter is made up of public data that has been collected by USA Today and put into in a more usable format than the original government version.
Matthew writes that the UK paper, the Guardian, has been inviting outside developers to make use of its APIs through a series of “hack days,” and they have come up with some interesting ideas. As Matthew writes, “one of the driving forces behind the Guardian open platform was the idea that the paper itself couldn’t possibly think of or develop every interesting or worthwhile project involving its content — so why not “crowdsource” that effort via the API?” Good idea.
Becoming a News Aggregator Through Citizen Journalism
Another way to crowdsource the news is through citizen journalism. We have seen this informally through the use of Twitter and Facebook in many of the recent revolutionary movements in the Middle East. A number of newspapers and television stations are doing this more formally by adding citizen journalism to their web sites to become news aggregators, as well as distributors of their content (see our five part series on what PBS affiliate, KETC, did to create a great community through social media. Here is also some advice on how to proceed with this type of news aggregation (Creating a Sustainable Ecosystem for Community News Media - Part One: Providing Relevance and Creating Loyalty).