Brian Lehrer on Crowdsourcing

Another note from the Consumer Revolution conference: Brian Lehrer, of New York City’s public-radio station, WNYC, spoke about his station’s use of crowdsourcing, or public journalism. (For more on the method, see Lehrer’s most famous crowd-sourcing experiment, “Are You Being Gouged?”) Crowd-sourcing is only one example of the trend toward professional-amateur hybrids we’re seeing right now: in order for group journalism to be valuable, it generally has to be monitored—aggregated, curated, synthesized, and, importantly, fact-checked—by an editorial entity. And group journalism will only be as good as the question it asks, Lehrer believes. “The holy grail for us is the right question that’s going to lead to action on the part of our listeners,” he said. And “the more integrated the process, obviously, the better.”

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