Glass ceilings, transparency, taking risks and a flashback

In all my naïvety I wrote this in my previous blog:

May 19th, 2009:

Imagine you’re a reporter after chasing a major story, it involves loads of data, there are many different sides to the issue, and people to interview that have specific knowledge about it, be it technical, scientific, or just exclusive. Good journalists always delivered good stories on their own, and covered all the necessary angles to the subject. Working alone means full control of the process, from start to end, and a fair amount of discretion, secrecy, that often resulted in exclusives, the former bread and butter of good newspapers. But what if the process was public, and open to everyone?

I’m not saying all of the process, but some parts of it. If a journalist is snooping around, asking questions about something, doors will close anyway, that will open with new information and the need to answer, retaliate, whatever –  sometimes a statement comes out of conflicting views. But the saying goes  “two heads are better than one”, and if we ask for users to help, many minds will work for the same purpose.

The crowd could gather data, process it, provide input, suggest questions, and the journalist – besides having to do all the things he’s supposed to – would coordinate all of these contributions. This would improve the relationship between the users/readers and the journalist/story/brand. But if you are not a fan of full disclosure before publishing, why not do it afterwards? Release the videos rushes, the full audio, share the documentation and data you gathered in an open database. The advantages? Trust.

The Guardian did this now:

October 10, 2011

We often report big breaking stories as they happen, but have you ever wondered what stories we’re working on – and what’s about to drop? To help you find out, the Guardian newsdesk is opening its doors.

You can now see (below) a live account of our plans in the form of the daily newslist kept by our editors. It provides a glimpse into the scheduled announcements, events and speeches that make up the news day. You will also be able to view what our editors think about the stories by reading their updates on Twitter in the panel opposite. We will include conversations we have about the day’s news, story ideas we get from our correspondents and the latest information on stories that we get during the day.

We won’t quite show you everything. We can’t tell you about stories that are under embargo or, sometimes, exclusives that we want to keep from our competitors, but most of our plans will be there for all to see, from the parliamentary debates we plan to cover to the theatre we plan to review. We reserve the right to stick to our guns, but would love to know what you think.

 

Why do I keep on doing this? To convince myself I wasn’t that naive.

 

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