Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Time Has Come For Real Crowd-Sourced News

In light of the recent News of the World scandal and the subsequent controversy that has been enveloping News International and now News Corp itself, isn't it time that the world started to turn to its own public more for the news that it consumes and shares? The practices carried out by the now-defunct tabloid News of the World have brought one of the most commonly accepted stereotypes, that sections of the media will stoop to hideous levels of evil, unethical nastiness in order to shift more copies of their respective rags, to the forefront.

This is something that a lot of people have thought for a very long time, and while it is currently en vogue to bitch about the abhorrent behaviour of certain sections of the media, we need things to change. With the rise of Twitter, Digg, Reddit and suchlike, we are being offered the opportunity to supply crowd-sourced news rather than having to rely solely on the usual news outlets.

The exact nature of where this crowd-sourced news will take us is anyone's guess right now, but an ever greater amount of public-generated accounts of breaking news stories can genuinely work out for the best. The overthrowing of the Egyptian government and the recent happenings in Libya come to mind as examples of how online and new media were able to get the truth out much faster than the traditional outlets, and with no middleman to taint the facts.

Speaking not as a media tycoon with billions in my bank account, but as a relatively normal and sane member of society (I'm broke. I work in a coffee shop by day and a metal magazine by night while trying to get fiction published), I am seeing this furore surrounding News Corp and the investigations into the dealings of certain individuals that are currently kicking off as a sign that maybe it's time we took the news into our own hands.

Despite what many 'professionals' may think, there is a huge slice of the populace that care, that think that have opinions and a desire to voice them. The media landscape is changing, and with each passing day there seems to be less and less of a place for a lot of publications. A crowd-sourced news service, like Digg but on a much larger scale, would be a great thing to have in tandem with a core of quality newspapers and channels.

Giving the populace a real voice is what the internet has long since been a tool for, and perhaps now is the time to take it a step further. We live the news, how about we make it too? This isn't the death-knell for the media, just a turning point. I hope it is used wisely.

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