SEJ 2006: Open Source Journalism

There was yet more cool action from the Society of Environmental Journalists’ conference this afternoon as Amy Gahran and Adam Glenn explained what Gahran called “open source journalism.” She and Glenn encouraged their audience to become more involved blogging (and commenting online) on issues that they cover, both for professional development and to begin turning their readership into an extended community. Both of those goals, of course, come with significant personal rewards.

A journalist who blogs, they explained, will reap the rewards of the distributed intelligence of everyone interested in their topics. Comments on reporter’s posts are a great way to suggest story ideas or introduce a corrective point of view. This is also true in the policy world – a think tank or advocacy person who is engaged (and engaging) online will be better informed, and at a lower cost, than someone who limits their experience with “conversational media” to reading the letters to the editor in The Wall Street Journal.

They also suggested a number of inexpensive tools for getting one’s message out there, including TypePad (which Open Market is was built on) and blog search sites like Technorati and Icerocket for finding out what people are talking about, and making sure you end up as part of the conversation.