The Power of Many: How Does Open Source Journalism Affect PR?

Juliana Allen | Business2Community | July 2, 2014

The “Power of Many” is a business concept that has translated well to other industries, and with good results. By using the power of the public, police have been able to gather valuable tips and evidence about suspected rioters, while parents have sourced creative names for their new-borns.

Crowdsourcing is proof that “more is better.” And given that information is gold to journalists, it shouldn’t be a surprise that so called “open source journalism” has been on the rise. Citizen journalists all over the world are just one-tweeted-picture-of-a-car-accident away from contributing to the lead story on the evening news.  Just as crowdfunding solicits money from a range of supporters to get a startup off the ground, open source journalism is all about anyone other than professional journalists contributing to the news and it usually sourced in a community-like online forum.

Prominent NYU journalism professor and civic journalist Jay Rosen has said, “The more people who participate in it, the stronger the press will be.” The thinking is that open source journalism widens the reach of traditional newsrooms and gives more regular, ordinary citizens the power of the pen.  A system without traditional gatekeepers sounds chaotic, but OpenWatch, one of the strongest advocates for open source journalism, believes it can work if eight principles – including complete primary and verified sources, transparency, and continuity – are followed...