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Nov. 7, 2008, 4:57 p.m.

Introducing the Lab Book Club: ‘Crowdsourcing’ by Jeff Howe

When we were drawing up the plans for the Nieman Journalism Lab, one of our goals was to create an environment for collaborative learning. We don’t know what the future of journalism will hold, but we’ll get closer to figuring it out if we can get as many smart minds working on the problem as we can.

So it’s in that spirit that we announce the Lab Book Club. Every month, we’ll choose a book that wrestles with the future of journalism in some way and spend the month analyzing its arguments, debating its theses, and figuring out what it tells us about where the news business is going. For the first edition of the Lab Book Club, we’ve picked Crowdsourcing, by Wired reporter Jeff Howe. It’s an examination of how tasks once performed by employees are increasingly being performed by a large, undefined group of people.

You can probably figure out where to sub “journalists” and “the audience” into that last sentence.

It’s a fascinating, very readable book, and I hope you’ll pick up a copy and read it along with us. In future months, we want to get the audience actively involved in the club; we’ll be looking for volunteers among you to read and respond to each book’s arguments and positions. (More information on that later.) But for this first issue, we’re drawing up on the very talented members of the current class of Nieman Fellows.

On Monday, Tommy Tomlinson of the Charlotte Observer will respond to chapters 1 to 3. The following Monday, November 17, Rosita Boland of the Irish Times will respond to chapters 4 to 7. Then, on November 24, Chris Vognar of The Dallas Morning News will respond to chapters 8 to 11.

In addition, I taped an hour-long interview with the author, Jeff Howe, in which I asked my own set of questions about each section of the book. We’ll be dividing that hour up into parts and posting them on the same three Mondays the responses will appear.

Finally: We do want your input. Head to your local bookstore or library and pick up a copy and read it along with us. We’d love for you to participate, either by leaving comments or by writing a piece of your own. (If you’re interested, email me.)

The interview with Jeff Howe:
Chapters 1 to 3
Chapters 4 to 5
Chapters 6 to 7
Chapters 8 to 11

The responses:
Tommy Tomlinson on chapters 1 to 3
Rosita Boland on chapters 4 to 7
Chris Vognar on chapter 8 to 11

Joshua Benton is the senior writer and former director of Nieman Lab. You can reach him via email (joshua_benton@harvard.edu) or Twitter DM (@jbenton).
POSTED     Nov. 7, 2008, 4:57 p.m.
PART OF A SERIES     Lab Book Club: Jeff Howe
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