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Public Insight Journalism

Michael Skoler from Minnesota Public Radio offers this label for what they are doing to embrace the expertise of their listeners: They know more than we do. Here’s a snippet of his argument:

Our approach to citizen journalism is different from other news organizations. We are not turning over editorial control to our listeners and web readers in a separate section labeled citizens speak. Rather we are embracing people in our audience and the public at large as smart, connected, engaged partners who often know more than we do. We bring their knowledge into the newsroom and into our daily reporting. In many ways, this is a more radical shift than simply handing the pen or the microphone to nonreporters…

Public Insight Journalism has slowly won over most in our newsroom. First, because it regularly makes our coverage stronger. Second, because we are not abandoning the best of mainstream journalismour professional judgment, practices, ethics and standards of reportingbut are instead deepening our reporting and judgment through the power of a vast network of sources. At its best, PIJ solves problems we journalists regularly face

It’s very easy to become “either/or” in looking at the future of mainstream media, as if blogs and journalism are either completely different or completely the same. Skoler charts an interesting course through this.

(Thanks to Rob Paterson for telling me about this. Disclosure: I’ve consulted to Rob on his work for National Public Radio)