Newsvine is calling its contributors to join together in the first pro-am journalism project on the web. We're teaming up with NewAssignment.Net, Wired and other sites that embrace social media. Jay Rosen, the man behind the project, asks us and other citizen media outlets: "can large groups of widely scattered people, working together voluntarily on the Net, report on something happening in their world right now, and by dividing the work wisely tell the story more completely, while hitting high standards in truth, accuracy and free expression?"
Newsvine hopes to provide a resounding answer to that question from its many talented contributors, who we think are better suited than anyone on the web to tackle the challenge of Assignment Zero. Why do we think this? Newsvine members are already organized into several ideal groups, such as The Citizen Journalist and Citizen Journalism. These groups can team up with other interested users to organize a team which will put forth contributions on the behalf of Newsvine for Assignment Zero, which Rosen describes here:
* 1. We're going to take one big, moving story--the spread of crowdsourcing and peer production methods across wired society--and with your active assistance break it down into reportable parts. Some of these parts we already have. More of them is what we need.
* 2. Then we're going to develop those parts--in the open, at the site--into pieces we can formally assign to contributors. Each piece is a part of a larger puzzle we'll be fitting together. We don't know yet how many pieces there will be.
* 3. We'll set deadlines for those pieces, and with your help find contributors who are motivated and qualified to complete them. Not for pay (we're not at that stage yet...) but for public benefit and some by-line glory in the final results. An "author" in our system can be an individual writer, a two or three-person team. A class could get an assignment. A blog plus users could do one. In an agreement with Newsvine staff, we are going to ship to them a "box" of assignments for their users to complete. It will then be up to the Newsvine community to figure out how to get those pieces done.
* 4. We'll edit what comes in and with the crowd's help verify it to the best of our ability.
* 5. Final results will probably come two months or so from now. We plan to publish in a big, splashy package at NewAssignment.Net everything that came in and made the editor's final cut. Wired will run a piece by Jeff Howe drawing off Assignment Zero. Wired will be free to pick and choose from that material and publish any portion of it, in print or online. What doesn't run at our site or at Wired.com can appear elsewhere on the Net. (We won't own your content. An Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License will apply to it.)
Pro-am means just that: a mix of professional and amateur talent. Some formatting, some freestyling. Some things decided by editors, others left to participants. We don't know what the optimal mix is yet, but we'll find it.
As you can see, some of the details are still to be ironed out, but by participating in this project with your fellow Newsviners, you have a chance to make history - by contributing to the birth of a new breed of citizen journalism.
Please discuss this project here and in the appropriate Newsvine Groups. Soon, we will appoint a person to act as the head coordinator of the Newsvine effort. This person will be the main point of contact between the Newsvine participants and the people over at NewAssignment.Net. Ideally, the person should already have a strong background of reporting under their belt here at Newsvine, as well as the organizational skill and availability to help us put our best foot forward. Newsvine staff will be largely hands-off in this project, leaving it up to the Community to do its part in Assignment Zero.