Richard Sambrook, the BBC’s Director of Global News, is over at the World Editors Forum in South Africa (nice work if you can get it) “to talk about the BBC’s approach to what’s awkwardly called User Generated Content or citizen journalism.”
It’s in the area of what’s called networked journalism that the biggest opportunities may lie. Whatever subject we choose to report, someone in our audience – let alone the collective wisdom of the audience – will know more about it than we do. If we can use the new technologies to embrace their expertise it can only strengthen our journalism, and hopefully our relationship with the public.
But doing so is more complicated. Editors at this forum are worried about how to verify what they are offered, and how to pay for it, let alone how to make enough revenue to support their organisations. Looking ahead there’s wide agreement that where today they are talking about blogs, tomorrow it will be the networking sites like Facebook which is currently enjoying huge growth. And yes, last weekend I did join it.
And then maybe ‘they’ will all go back to websites and then blogs and then the rest of the stuff they have tinkered with and do them properly so that the other 40% or so of their audience who isn’t online can have a go at them.