Media Musings Blog Archive Fairfax Needs You
Nike magistax proximo ii tf nike magista ag earlier this week in my otherwise innocuous Twitter steam, this journo clickbait from The Sydney Morning Herald tech reporter jumped out at me:Fairfax Media is delving deeper into the taxpayer rort, the iceberg tip of which was exposed earlier this week with Tony Abbott loose expense claiming, including travelling to Port Macquarie to compete in the Ironman event.
The legacy brand is asking for citizens to help them trawl through four years worth of government data.
Of course, sifting through such a huge amount of data is time consuming, and takes a special amount of skill to cross check dates with activities.
This is not a new idea, mind you. The Guardian had an identical project in 2009 to investigate UK MP expenses.
But it staggering to imagine the struggling Fairfax brand blithely asking for help, considering last week they laid of 45 staff,axing their (melbourne) and (sydney) magazines.
Shortly afterward, theyjacked up the price of the weekday compact by 15 per cent and the Saturday editions by 10 per cent.
Interestingly, the article does not state what it is prepared to pay people for contributing to the investigation, if anything.
Another glaring question is, if a major metro masthead doesn have the time or resources to commit to poring over government documents, who does?
Full time workers with a penchant for data mining in their spare time? Retirees? The unemployed?
As Barry Tucker blogged on Truth In News Media, opportunity also presents some danger, especially in regard to careless or inaccurate reporting by, hopefully, well meaning amateurs. The rules involving politicians’ expense claims are detailed, complicated and variable. this year the graduate diploma of journalism students were given a guest lecture by Craig Butt, The Age king of data journalism.
A huge emphasis was placed on us on the importance of data journalism as a skill for journalists navigating the new media landscape.
Perhaps if legacy media doesn have the resources to support the thirst for data journalism, it opens the opportunity for the little guys to make it happen.
So then why help Fairfax if you can sell it to someone who willing to pay more for your time?Posted under: Blogging, Future of media, Multimedia journalism
Dated: Oct 11 2013
I don really have a problem with this type of crowd sourcing, citizen journalism. I understand the problems that can arise, as you both point out, you can rely on the public to do a great job. But it can certainly help a news organisation go through a tremendous amount of data rather quickly. At the end of the day, journalists are still going to be double and triple checking whatever the citizens come up with. Best case scenario they notice something a journalist might not. After all the audience have their own areas of expertise that might shine a new light one whatever material they are analyzing.
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