A Look at Two Types of Journalism: Pro-am; Open-source

September 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

I think CNN’s iReport is a particularly good example of a pro-am journalism news website. The premise is pretty simple, as it says on the homepage:

Readers can sign up and contribute their own ideas for stories, or even submit their own stories. CNN clarifies that posts that have not been “vetted” are unedited and basically just raw material straight from the participant. However, stories that have the vetted badge mean that they have been both edited and fact-checked by a CNN reporter. It’s reassuring to know that a legitimate news source  has checked some of the articles on the site, so the reader knows which articles to believe 100% and which to make a mental note that the facts may not be completely accurate.

What I like the most about the site is that it’s easy to navigate. It’s got the standard CNN navigation bar up top, but the iReport section has another navigation bar underneath.

The site is easy to get around, clean and pleasing to the eye. Also, there are two main things that make me really like this site:

Two Things I Like About The Site
1. To get published by/on CNN, a legitimate news website, would be enough of an incentive to participate.
2. The fact that there is an “assignment desk” would make me feel real special.

There is even a section that tells you how to write a news story if you need help! (Which, of course, none of us do…)

In contrast, an open-source website is Global for me, which is similar to Spot.us in that readers vote and donate money to a story idea, and if  a certain story gets enough donations, then the site will assign it to a professional journalist to cover it.

My qualms about this site are as follows:

Three Things I Don’t Like About The Site
1. It’s simple, but ugly. I would not care to read anything on this site; it’s as sterile as a hospital room.
2. Legit? Not legit? At least with CNN I know it’s CNN. Brand loyalty.
3. The donation factor really dampens things for me because I’m a broke college student who needs every penny I don’t have for cup noodles on a cold autumn night, and because the whole process seems like it would take forever to complete.

So through this critique I’ve discovered that website design, legitimacy, and finance are key factors in determining my opinion of a good news source website.



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