The Interweb has wrought massive changes in the world, all right, and nowhere more than in the news gathering space. Not only have citizen journalists consistently proved they can out-run news reporters – see the Hudson bay crash for an example of the power of Twitter – but the crowd can also get access where others fear to tread. Now at last it looks as though the mainstream news agencies are beginning to work it out; better late than never!
The CNN iReport section on their site is deliberately dedicated to wooing Joe Public to become part of their news gathering team. Whether you think this is a good idea or exploitation will depend on which part of the table you’re sitting at, but whatever the answer it’s clearly the way of the future. The section contains a full complement of backup staff, and comes with some clever features to make it easier for people to get involved.
There are generic assignments which budding reporters can contribute to, Assignment Groups which let like minded folk club together to handle their favourite topics, such as technology or entertainment. And there’s even a kind of ranking system, where people can win ‘badges’ if they’re good enough reporters. We wonder whether there’s a money badge anywhere in the mix?
So if you feel you have a nose for a story, the talent, equipment and crucially the time to spend hunting them down and reporting on them in a professional way, then this could be a good place to start. Who knows it could lead to a real opportunity to become a full time reporter for cash and fame. In the meantime we’ll leave you with a cute little video done by one of the iReport citizens, Chris Morrow.