A few months back, I told you about NewAssignment.net, a non-profit experiment in networked journalism and crowdsourcing. Well, today is launch day for its first assignment. Please go visit the Assignment Zero website and consider signing* up. There are roles for researchers, reporters, interviewers, fact checkers, and other talented folks. Here's some info from an open letter by project founder and leader Jay Rosen:
Inspired by the open source movement, this is an attempt to bring journalists together with people in the public who can help cover a story. It's a collaboration among NewAssignment.Net, Wired, and those who chose to participate.
The investigation takes place in the open, not behind newsroom walls. Participation is voluntary; contributors are welcomed from across the Web. The people getting, telling and vetting the story are a mix of professional journalists and members of the public -- also known as citizen journalists. This is a model I describe as "pro-am."
The "ams" are simply people getting together on their own time to contribute to a project in journalism that for their own reasons they support. The "pros" are journalists guiding and editing the story, setting standards, overseeing fact-checking, and publishing a final version.
In this project, we're trying to crowdsource a single story, and debut a site that makes other such reports possible down the road. But we don't know yet how well our site and our methods work. Our ideas are crude because they are untested. By participating, you can help us figure this puzzle out...
* CORRECTION March 16: This sentence incorrectly used the word "singing" instead of "signing." We regret the error.