The Nieman Journalism Lab thinks "networked journalism" is something new.

Posted: 03 Apr 2010   Print   Send a link
"Is Al Jazeera English a Jeff Jarvis test case? Back in 2006, Jarvis coined a term called 'networked journalism,' an approach to news that combines the work of both professional journalists and amateurs. ... Here’s an example: On Al Jazeera’s beta site, War on Gaza, users in region can submit events, from protests to incidents of violence, using SMS or Twitter. The site is powered using Ushahidi, a tool designed to crowdsource crisis situations. ... Richard Gizbert, host of one of the channel’s most popular shows The Listening Post and featured in the video above, presented the site, calling the work of the public almost indistinguishable from Al Jazeera itself. 'These guys are producers for us, they don’t even know it and we don’t pay them,' Gizbert said." Laura McGann, Nieman Journalism Lab, 29 March 2010.
     Mr. Gizbert's description is not very flattering to Al Jazeera, is it? And, whatever we may think about the events in that part of the world, "War on Gaza" is not the name a news organization interested in credibility would give to one of its websites. I notice that a few of the "incidents" listed in War on Gaza are rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel. The great majority are Israeli actions in, or into, Gaza. The Nieman Journalism Lab, a project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, might want to look at this project with more critical and less starry eyes.
     I don't know if they innovated as quickly as AJE, but BBC World News and CNN International are also implementing "networked journalism." And networked journalism is not really new. Jonathan Marks, George Wood, I, and other producers of the DX/media programs on shortwave used listener-submitted news (sent via the miracle of international airmail) decades ago. Also, over the decades, all-news radio stations in the United States asked listeners to call their dedicated news-tip telephone numbers, and would put these people on the air for eyewitness accounts.