The approach itself—which relies on the Web, as Michel puts it, to “move the newsroom further online”—may be new; but then, she notes, “the standards are not. And the goal isn’t, either.” The pro-am model “was never meant to be a substitute for what traditional journalists do well.” It is meant, rather, “to add to the journalistic repertoire at large”—and to expand journalists’ storytelling capabilities. “That skill of storytelling is absolutely essential to building out new forms of journalism,” Michel says. “That will never go away. That’s its core.”

Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.