Social News Gathering

This idea’s aim is twofold: improve our news gathering and better engage readers.

Global Voices would provide a platform (open to everyone who has a verifiable email) that allows the following:

  • Readers to suggest story ideas
  • Authors to pitch story ideas (their own, or inspired by readers’ suggestions)
  • Editors to select story ideas to be developed for Global Voices
  • Readers to add to the ideas in production (sending links to blog posts, social media mentions, and updates, if they are on the ground, as well as their own creative commons licensed videos, photos, audio, content – by submitting it, it would be CC could be part of the terms and conditions)
  • Readers to vote which stories they want to read (or we should prioritise).

Other features (many of these would be automated):

Filters: customisable by region, topics, languages (so Spanish users would see ideas being proposed in Spanish). Users can follow threads that interest them, or are happening in their countries; There could also be sorting by ‘new’, ‘hot’, ‘in production’, etc.
Mainstream media and blogs feeds: who else is talking about the topic? These would be listed.
Links to usual resources: wikipedia, local sites, maps, etc
Social gathering:
This could lead to an internal ‘social news gathering network’, like “Paulissima backs a post about ‘Occupy Nigeria‘. Would you also like to read it?” or “Juan suggests a post about the Andean Christmas. Do you know any sources talking about it?”
Apps: to easy feed content using mobile phones and other mobile devices
Blogging network: Those stories that we decide not to write for any reason, such as staff limitation, could be used by other bloggers part of the network.
Credit: To be given to all parts involved in gathering for a post, linking to their blogs or their profiles in the news gathering platform. Their profiles would also list the stories they contributed to.
Etherpad: For authors to write and editors to start editing straight from the platform, using the resources there.
Fact checking: Readers on the ground could help us to confirm or deny facts.
Fun: Something to make it fun or entertaining, like LOL cats to go with it 🙂

We could also think of a special service for mainstream media, instead of having them pig backing on our stories in production – perhaps summary and translation? Or a special banner for them to publish in their sites giving credit to Global Voices if they use our content? Or a subscription fee for them to have full access to our live news gathering platform, so that we can work at the same time?

It would have to be practical, friendly but pretty and cool to use. Now, I would be not sure how to make it happen at all – so it would need to be a collaborative effort it it wins! I have found this that perhaps could provide a backbone.

(PS: After writing the above, I performed a google search for social news gathering, and found some examples of similar collaborative efforts by The Guardian, also explained here. I have also found CNN’s iReport, and it seems that BB C also has something similar but I don’t think it is open to the public to see the process. Do you know any other social news gathering going on?)

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