Jay Rosen over on Pressthink is trying out a new concept in online journalism content creation. With seed money from Craig Newmark of Craig's List fame, he's about to open a web site at NewAssignment.Net. In essence, he will attempt to build up independent electronic enterprise reporting as the mainstream media tears itself down.
Rosen describes it as "journalism without the media," and it makes some philosophical/business assumptions that seem on-target. First, a way has to be develop to harness the blog-type energies into fact-based, original and salable news products. That can be done by using an open-source approach to come up with solid assignments, which can then be picked up for reporting by professionals or able news novices. (Lord knows, there is plenty of talent to be mined. MSM dumped more than 6,000 professional journalists from its ranks in just the last two years, by some estimates.)
Second, NewAssignment.net (which is not yet opened, but reserved with a holding page at the moment) would serve as a way to create, syndicate and disperse original reporting created for real dollars. It would be, in essence, a new kind of wire service.
People could invest/contribute to stories they want to read about (or run in their own publications), the reap the rewards of the collaborative NewAssignment.Net community.
Like many great ideas, this one is rooted somewhat in idealistic and, perhaps, overly optimistic visions of our media future. But something like this will eventually have to arise to supplant the ever-skimpier MSM contributions to enterprise and in-depth reportage. Like it or not, bloggers exist only because they have MSM content to blog about. With original reporting -- fact-checked and well produced -- we may at least add to the pool of realiable information available for all consumers.
Seems to this ex-newspaper dood it's well worth a shot. Craig's List, BTW, is already down for a $10K bet on the same.
"Well worth a shot" indeed! Somehow, I don't think we're going to see a lot about this in the traditional MSM, but that's the whole point, ain't it?