How the crowd has changed

June 2, 2015 01:30

By Julian Stroebl, University of Arizona/Bundeswehr University Munich
Graduate student Julian Stroebl is seeking professional journalists to take a brief survey to gauge their opinions of using crowdsourcing as a method for reporters to build stories, and how crowdsourcing affects the quality of the journalism that results. He wrote the post below to explain his work. Any questions regarding his thesis can be sent to directly via email to or on Twitter to @Don_JuSt_

Independence, truth and accuracy are ethically and qualitatively important for news media. Within recent decades, the roles of professional journalists has changed a great deal. Journalists still ask questions in order to get the information they need for their stories. Sources provide answers and can become a part of the story that is going to be published. At the end of the day, it is up to the journalist to decide whether they make use of those answers in their stories.

However, the World Wide Web and social media are tearing down that barrier. Everybody who has internet access nowadays is able to participate in day-to-day journalism. A new blog post is published within minutes, and comments on videos or news stories have become an important aspect of new media storytelling. News can be easily shared with friends and people all over the world. The world has literally become an online network where everybody can tell other people about an experience, an idea, a suggestion, or an opinion.
My study seeks to analyze what happens when the digital crowd provides content for journalists to use in their stories. The goal is to discuss the quality of stories produced by just one journalist and stories that result from a multiplicity of authors. Many people’s knowledge is said to be better than the knowledge of just one individual, according to the wisdom of the "crowd theory," which will provide the theoretical framework for the study.

The intent is to find out the status of crowdsourcing in journalism by comparing its use in the United States with its use in Germany. The comparison will provide global context on the application of crowdsourcing in journalism.

The survey is available here:
Thank you for taking part.