As we’ve discussed in previous posts, the news is becoming a crowd-generated product more and more these days.
But what is the crowd really producing besides information? Because I think that we can agree that it’s something beyond the news. One of the articles that I found very interesting on the subject was a list of tips from the news:rewired conference last month in a panel called “Harnessing the Power of the Community.” The summary of tips is here and includes everything from encouraging reporters to follow-up with the community personally to completely handing off reporting to the community and acting as discussion facilitators for the community and watching the news emerge in that fashion.
This closing thought was delivered by Mark Johnson of The Economist at that same panel and I think it summed up the value that they were trying to get across very nicely, “There is a lot of value not just in being an organisation that produces content, even if that content is nicely informed by your community, but also in being an organisation that gives a lot of value to its readers by collecting together certain kinds of people and allowing them to have the conversations they want on the platforms that you build for them.”
In the end, it comes down to dialogue. No matter what the story, the resource that a news source is providing is not just information, but a place similar to the forums of Rome, where information was shared, processed, and grappled with by the community. We are now building spots for dialogue and that is something that needs to exist in order for the community to emerge. It needs to be a place that people feel safe engaging in and sticky enough that they have a reason to hang around for awhile.
Are you building your community for dialogue? How do you make a space for dialogue?