Journalism

Will Guardian Witness work?

The Guardian have recently launched their Guardian Witness service in collaboration with the mobile network EE.

The feature is clearly being sponsored by the mobile network EE.

The feature is clearly being sponsored by the mobile network EE.

The service, available online and as an app for iPhone and Android, allows users to make their own contributions to certain assignments and even live blogs. The service also offers advice to contributors, such as a collaborative guide to shooting video.

Is this really that innovative? CNN first created iReport in 2006 as a citizen journalism project. iReport has been very successful so far, even offering awards to certain contributors.

However, The Guardian are only just behind ProPublica who launched the Get Involved section of their website in March this year and claim to have over 10,000 contributors. ProPublica have made it easy for people to log in and provide views on certain issues.

ProPublic Get Involved section

In this example, ProPublica ask people to fill out a quick form about their internship experience to find out more information about possible internship abuses in the US

What makes Guardian Witness stand out compared to these tools?

Joanna Geary, The Guardian’s digital development editor, says that verification is a crucial part of the system. For instance, the system will analyse a photograph’s EXIF data to verify if it’s claimed location is valid.

Guardian Witness is also only just developing. Joanna adds that: “The really exciting thing is not what you see now, but what you see when Witness is included in a story.”

Joanna Geary Guardian Witness

The current assignment of the week is “Views of tall buildings” whereby users can upload commentaries, photographs and video about eye-catching sky scrapers.

Given that Guardian Witness has only just started, it is a very interesting citizen journalism project. It  no doubt inspire people to collaborate on news stories. I personally believe that collaboration is a crucial skill needed in the newsroom, as well as elsewhere.

What do you think about Guardian Witness?

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