…But I’d also experiment with some ideas that could break new ground in other ways. For advice on how to make these work, I’d pick the brains of some of the folks I’ve worked with at the Harvard Berkman Center for internet and society and in the broader technology world, as well as people in journalism. Examples (third parties have already created or are creating some of these):
• “Anonymice Tracker” – an open and publicly searchable database of every story quoting anonymous sources, annotated in various ways (for cross-tabular purposes) such as whether a story was based entirely on such sources, as well as quoting the reason(s) given for granting anonymity.
• “Feedback Zeitgeist” – semantic analyses, including visualizations, of correspondents’ email and forum/comment posts. I suspect this could be extraordinarily illuminating once we had some data baselines.
• “Error Notifier” – a system whereby anyone who signs up receives an automatic email notification (assuming he or she was actually looked at the original posting or column) of any error in what I’ve written.
• “PubEd Submitterator” – borrowing the second word from BoingBoing, my favorite blog, which relies on its readers for tips on what to show to the rest of us. The main purpose would be to get help finding the best critiques.
• “Goof Tracker” – a reader-fed database of what they believe are errors of fact and whether they’ve been corrected. I understand that the newsroom has its own non-public database, and I believe there should be some public listing of this kind. I also recognize the difficulties of making this work, but it’s worth a try.
You’ll have noticed that most of these ideas, as well as my must-do list above, share my conviction that the audience should be an integral part of this process. The readers and other constituencies should participate, not just read, by saying what they know and believe, and by adding data where we can create structured input systems.
Dan Gillmor proves his awesomeness once again. Some very interesting ideas about the role of audience, internet, and how they relate to modern online journalism are raised here.
And it is awesome that he is a fan of Boing Boing.
Barrett Sheridan, Is Cue the Cure for Information Overload?
The Copy Editor asks: That’s for the average person. Any ballpark figure on the quantity of information processed by journalists every day?