Open source journalism

Summary:No field has been transformed by open source as much as journalism.I'm referring both to open source as in free, and open source as in see the source code.

No field has been transformed by open source as much as journalism.

I'm referring both to open source as in free, and open source as in see the source code.

The free Web challenges journalism business models as nothing has before. The industry is still reeling.

Even when magazines were given away, it was in exchange for detailed information. Publishers bought lists of prospective readers, made their offer by mail, then demanded personal details for subscriptions. The data justified the ad rate.

Some newspapers and magazines have been trying this on the Web. Only a few registration-required sites are profitable. Most sites with this business model are still losing money even as they continue to lose print readers and advertisers.

Blogs challenge the profession of journalism, opening up the process and source code of what we do.

Blogs are not closely edited. Some bloggers tell you exactly how they got their stuff. Others get inside the news process, breaking sources papers don't want broken, breaking into the process of newsgathering, or breaking stories on journalists.

Some journalists feel threatened by this. Some attack blogs, others embrace blogs, some copy blogging and others try to co-opt it.

I happen to like open source journalism. I believe business models will evolve to solve the problem of free. I believe competition from and with blogs will result in a better news product.

But mine may be a minority opinion. What's yours? Let us know in Talkback.

Topics: Open Source

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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