Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
What’s up with all the news photos that make beaches look like Covid hotspots?
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
June 29, 2010, 10 a.m.

Collaboration instead of the crowd: Gabriella Coleman & Karim Lakhani on how people work together online

News organizations, faced with the dual incentives of declining resources and the possibilities of the Internet, have tried any number of angles for gathering the labor of its audience in ways useful to the enterprise. (Crowdsourcing is the term, for which you can credit/blame outgoing Nieman Fellow Jeff Howe.) But outside a few oft-repeated anecdotes, it’s sometimes unclear what lasting value those efforts have produced. Or at the very least, the value isn’t as obvious as it is in the open-source software movement, where enormously popular and powerful programs have been built on the backs of coordinated volunteer labor.

Above you’ll see two people who know a lot about that software world talking about what they’ve learned about how collaborative communities work. This is a video of a plenary session at the recent Future of News and Civic Media Conference at MIT. The lineup: Gabriella Coleman, an NYU professor who studies online collaboration, particularly in the Debian Linux community; Karim Lakhani, the Harvard Business School professor, who studies distributed innovation systems and who has also spent a lot of time looking at the software world; and moderator Chris Csikszentmihályi, director of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media.

Neither Coleman nor Lakhani specifically research the journalism world, but that’s part of what I find appealing about them: They don’t bring along either the assumptions of professional identity that many journalists do or the blind webby optimism of some sloganeers. They know the “crowd” can do amazing things, but they also know it’s really, really hard to optimize systems to ensure amazement happens. Give them a listen.

POSTED     June 29, 2010, 10 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
What’s up with all the news photos that make beaches look like Covid hotspots?
Plus: All misinformation is local; a very specific kind of Covid-19 misinformation in Facebook parent groups; and “religious clickbait.”
In the arena: Ken Doctor is moving from “media analyst” to “media CEO” with Lookout, his plan for quality local news
Lookout doesn’t want its local news sites to be a supplement or alternative to the local daily. They aim to be the news source of record in their communities, outgunning their shrunken newsprint rivals from Day 1.
People who engage with false news are hyper-concerned about truth. But they think it’s being hidden.
“On Google, searching for ‘coronavirus facts’ gives you a full overview of official statistics and visualizations. That’s not the case for ‘coronavirus truth.'”