Journalism is Open Source

Journalists give away of knowledge so that others can expand or act upon the ideas. Open source software is code that is written and shared in public. If we think of writing as a form of software then journalism is an open source field. Not only do journalists publish their works for people to share, they make it easy to glean the gist of the report by boiling everything down to a headline and introduction. As journalists try to reinvent the economics of their field are there lessons to be learned from how for-profit companies live off open source code?

Pay for uploaders? A ZDNet blog notes that user-generated content is not all that reliable. Former investment banker Donna Bogatin writes:

“From Wikipedia to, and from YouTube to Riya, both not-for-profit endeavors and purely commercial enterprises are staking their entire existence on user-generated content that is unreliable, inconsistent and difficult to come by The average YouTube user is watching the content, not generating it, “while more than 35 million videos are viewed daily, only 35,000 are uploaded” and at Riya photo search, “searchers outnumber the uploaders — 20 to 1.”

Paid Content notes that some uploaders are asking others to boycott sites that don’t pay contributors. Everyone will probably give away from content. But serious amateurs will eventually demand payment.

Cross-platform media: Fortune’s David Kirkpatrick observes that all media are becoming cross platform. “I don’t believe this inevitably means the demise of all old media,” he writes. “But it does require a conscious, open-minded, and sometimes painful re-evaluation of what business we are all in. “