Assignment Zero: A grand crowdWriting experiment

But I contribute to crowdsourced journalism because I want my work to yield a high “social good” return, and by that metric, overall, the experience has been frustrating. With some of these projects I ended up with nothing to show for the time I put in — either from being unable to get or enter the data, or from not following through where I probably would have, had there been support. (Support is crucial: if not for my editor’s encouragement at a bleak moment, you wouldn’t be reading this now.) And in the projects where I did contribute, my work had no visible effect — because of no follow-up or no publicity, or because what I provided just wasn’t very significant. All in all, I likely could have spent the time more productively at home on my own weblog.

Excerpt from WIRED’s Open-Source Journalism: It’s a Lot Tougher Than You Think

Wiki writers stand in stark contrast to the traditional image of the solitary, tortured artist. In crowdsourced fiction and nonfiction writing, the social narrative can trump a literary one. Still, from the complete expressive freedom of “A Million Penguins” to the careful scripting of “These Wicked Games”, each crowd created concrete works, though vastly different in length, content, salability, and final format. “What I have learned is that it would be possible to crowdsource a novel, but I think it would have to be done in a more controlled way than we did,” said Jeremy Ettinghausen, Digital Publisher for the U.K.’s Penguin Books. “What we decided with ‘A Million Penguins’ is that it was ‘all or nothing’ and that the experiment was about: there are no rules, there are no breaks, there’s no quota of people. We had a goal in mind that it was an experiment, and we were all in it together.”

Excerpt from WIRED’s Creative Crowdwriting: The Open Book

More from the Assignment Zero website and an introductory note from Jay Rosen, Executive Editor with Assignment Zero.

Previously from WNM: When we all write, does the reader lose? and Not ‘everyone’ can write a great novel

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Filed under A democratic medium?, Blogosphere, Electronic Storytelling, Networks, Open Source, Technology, our Mirror, web 2.0, Wiki

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