Open Journalism: changing all the news

8 May 2012

Written by: Steinar Ellingsen

If Twitter alone was not evidence enough of social media’s impact on traditional journalism, then perhaps a clever twist on a classic children’s tale ought to set the story straight.

The Three Little Pigs, the classic and delightfully neurotic story about three lonesome pigs and a wolf with some serious respiratory issues, is recast as a modern and tactful portrayal of the impact of social media discussion from initial headline news.

The Guardian UK’s video advert has had almost 1 million hits after its online release on 29 February; reconfirming that there are no beatable boundaries in the practice and product of journalism.

Open journalism is an extensive collaboration in journalism during its pre-published form, filtered through everyone and anyone that is able to share information and communicate opinion and response. To embrace this form of public participation is to accept a future in which journalism is based on unrestrictive sharing and public merit.

But on what grounds does open journalism position itself as a trustworthy source of information?

In response to the re-imagined tale, Purple Romero believes that some form of human involvement in the community is important to the news generated by editors.

However, as author David Sirota suggests, the ‘new journalist’ is the inexperienced journalist: rioters tweeting from ground zero in Egypt, walkers by at the scene of a breaking story, even celebrities basking in the glory of reporting a special event.

They all have the technology, the capability, and the capacity to participate.

It can be argued that this fosters transparency in reporting; removing editorial power from large media organisations, and placing it instead, in the hands of the consumer.

Denise Kingsmill recently wrote about the likes of Facebook and Twitter as mass communication tools that create the right kind of movement through a constant flow of shared opinion and information. The target is to recognise the topic of interest, and then alert those interested enough to contribute an opinion. This is the key to the movement.

Through open networks, society can unite upon common ground, bringing together hundreds of different views, as opposed to a boardroom of ten or less, and give shape to a new form of editorial content.

The news comes to consumers in multiple forms, poked and prodded through a range of different avenues, and shaped into new ideas.

If the three little pigs had been privy to the potential influence of open journalism, they would have been quick to change their role in the story before it went public.

The whining pig is now the suspect, while the wolf escapes with little more than a bad reputation.

Yeliz Selvi is doing a Graduate Diploma in Journalism at La Trobe University. Yeliz has also completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Media Studies at La Trobe. You can follow her musings and current obsession with Istanbul on Twitter @aintsoserious.