Wired's Open Source Journalism Project Could Produce Rich Content

by: Yankee Group

By Carl Howe

I wrote yesterday about how exploding content and shrinking consumer attention are undermining existing media and journalist business models. Well, today, Wired Magazine has announced a project that instead of fighting that trend, is using it to generate content. Wired has announced an experiment in new, new media called Assignment Zero that will investigate the wisdom, creativity, power, and potential of crowdsourcing:

This project offers any willing contributor the chance to do the work of a reporter, writer, researcher or editor in a joint investigation by Wired and NewAssignment.Net. When Assignment Zero ends, NewAssignment.Net will publish the results -- articles, interviews and assorted data. Wired magazine contributing editor Jeff Howe will write a feature-length article that will run on Wired News.

When the project concludes in two to three months, we hope to have produced the most comprehensive knowledge base to date on the scope, limits and best practices of crowdsourcing, whether that be in reporting projects like Assignment Zero, scientific research networks like Innocentive or T-shirt design companies like Threadless.com.

Assignment Zero sounds fascinating, so I joined up this morning, offering myself as an interviewee and a writer. This open journalism project parallels the branded content model I identified as open analysis when SeekingAlpha.com's content was syndicated to Yahoo! Finance. It should provide diversity of opinion, transparency of process, and rich content.

I'll let you know how the reality of the project stacks up against its promise as the experiment goes on over the next two or three months.