I’ve come back from a few days away to discover that Jay ( Press Think) Rosen has gotten seed money to start NewAssignment.net to support open source reporting projects. I saw a note in Paid Content and read the Q&A in which Rosen explains the idea. With a core of solid freelancers and a few good stories, this could become a model for subscription-supported journalism. After getting some critiques, Rosen offered examples of past, similar efforts that he considers models for how his undertaking will work:
In a followup posting, he writes about:
“Doug McGill, former business reporter for the New York Times … moved back to his home state, Minnesota, and set up his own site, the McGill Report. In 2003 he uncovered a genocide in Ethiopia and told the world . . . when –hundreds of Anuak refugees living in Minnesota reported receiving frantic telephone calls from their relatives living in Gambella state in Ethiopia.’ A local story. McGill heard about it. He interviewed the relatives of survivors who had witnessed the killings. They became his eyes and ears on the ground in Ethiopia. He became their link to the Internet, and to the possibility of world attention … I hope that (example) makes it (NewAssignment) a little more vivid.”
Journalism by the book. Doug McGill has created a brief but useful citizen journalism training manual that seems just right for a basic orientation of volunteer writers.
Getting critical mass on a local basis. In a commentary that mentioned the recent BlogHer conference, Poynter’s Amy Gahran mentions the need for journalists to find regional bloggers. Short of starting your own local blog reference, she suggests registering with Blogmapping.com. It has the virtue of being easy to join but has little or no coverage. Brian Shields, news director for KRON TV 4, has a much more vibrant list of Northern California blogs at “The Bay Area is Talking.”