The Guardian’s 10 ‘rules’ of Open Journalism… and money

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen the Guardian’s fantastic Three Little Pigs advert, detailing how The Guardian might tell the fairy tale in print and online using social media and crowd-sourcing for information/opinions.

(Here’s a link to that advert if you’ve enjoyed your time under said rock.)

This past weekend, The news org (because let’s be honest, The Guardian is so much more than a paper)  hosted an Open Weekend: A festival of readers and reasonableness.

During the weekend, Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the Guardian, was asked if the Guardian has rules for Open Journalism. Rusbridger responded via Twitter that they don’t have rules, but 10 ‘ideas’ about what it should look like:

(Thanks to the University of Ottawa‘s Patrick McCurdy for pointing these out to me)

I can not find one point to dispute here, all of it makes sense. We need to lead the discourse.  We want to be the place to host discussion.

Stephen Moss details a Clay Shirky discussion with Rusbridger:

Clay Shirky, the pope of openness, was interviewed by Rusbridger on Sunday morning, and even a dinosaur like me who thinks this piece should be 5,000 words long and written in dactylic hexameters found him persuasive. “Every time a technology comes along that allows citizens to communicate more freely the legacy industries flip out,” he said. He recalled that TV companies had likened the video recorder to the Boston Strangler when it was launched. Shirky argued that in the modern media world, loyalty was everything. Should media organisations offer a product, a service, or strive to build a different sort of organisation – a group of like-minded people who thought “God forbid that the Guardian should ever go out of business?” It was clear what shape the 300-strong audience thought the Guardian of the future should take. These, after all, were the loyalest of the loyal, people who had given up their lost-hour Sunday to ponder existential media questions and eat a lot of free cheese.

I love this idealism, I think these are the goals of journalism… but there’s a nagging question in the back of my mind: What’s the business model?

Perhaps it’s my Scottish genes and pragmatic nature, but why aren’t we also talking about how to fund  Open Journalism?

How does the Open Journalism model fit with a revenue model? What about *gulp* the bottom line? I can’t do any Open Journalism if I don’t have a job.

And why do I feel like I’ve kicked a puppy (or a little pig) every time I bring this up?

1 thought on “The Guardian’s 10 ‘rules’ of Open Journalism… and money

  1. Melanie, your very wise question strikes both disdain and fear into the aspirants of unproven reinvention and those who, despite scant evidence, espouse concepts like “Open Journalism.” They disdain you because they see your question as evidence of old-school adherence and they fear it because of what I call the start-up culture: they want to be the visionaries behind the idea, but when it comes to making money the vision is shown to be a house of cards and comes apart pretty quickly.
    Remember those old grainy black and white documentaries showing the wacky flying machines, a decade after the Wright Brothers? Weird craft bouncing up and down, flimsy planes falling apart halfway to takeoff, silly multi-wing things collapsing in the middle? This is what I believe we’re seeing today in the world of journalism. We’re in this wild and wacky experimental stage, oddly after the time when the Wright Brothers had already found the principles for flight. But few are asking what you have: namely, who pays, and who will keep on paying?
    The road to hell is paved with crashed start-ups and until that last question is answered, expect that biway to widen.

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