Fresh & New(er)

discussion of issues around digital media and museums by Seb Chan

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Learning from journalists and the media sector

October 23rd, 2007 by Seb Chan

Over the past while I’ve been talking a lot about museums becoming media organisations on the web. This is occurring at the same time as the differences between museums, libraries, galleries and archives blurring. Like media, museums are coming to terms with the need to encourage active participation and co-creation between our visitors (cf. readers/viewers), content researchers (cf. journalists), across all our delivery platforms including exhibitions (cf. tv/print) and the web.

Jeff Jarvis in the Guardian writes an article titled The pro-am approach to news gathering neatly summarises some of the issues that emerge when co-cretion is enabled discussing motivations, drivers and problems.

Third: community brings cost. Jay Rosen of New York University runs an ongoing experiment in networked journalism at NewAssignment.net. The community there has reported a story on crowdsourcing for Wired magazine and is now reporting on the Presidential race for HuffingtonPost.com. Rosen found an ongoing coordination cost: volunteers need to be assigned, enabled, moderated, managed, edited, curated.

There is also the cost to misbehaving citizens, the dyspeptic commenters who can ruin a conversation online and tarnish a brand. This, explained Robin Hamman from the BBC, is one reason why the corporation is moving away from constantly trying to bring the world to its site to contribute content and interact. Now it will also organise the conversation happening elsewhere, in blogs or in Flickr photos or YouTube videos. That’s one step toward what I think will be the next paradigm of online discussion, something more curatorial, built around quality and reputation more than quantity.

Fourth: the role of the journalist changes. Journalists need to become moderators and enablers . . .

There are obvious parallels here with the experience of museums and many of us are actively thinking about how we can train staff in the skills necessary not only in production, but most importantly, in the process of facilitating, enabling, and managing co-creation.

(hat tip to Tony at ABC Digital Futures)

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