Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Crowdsourcing rawks!

On election day, the Enquirer unveiled crowdsourcing, in which they try to get unpaid readers to do the work of reporters. The Enquirer urged readers to contact the paper if they had any problems voting. Reports were compiled and posted here, with a handy Google map showing the polling places where problems were reported. As one Enquirer reporter is quoted as saying in the crowdsourcing.com blog, "crowdsourcing rocks!"

This is not a bad thing, but crowdsourcing seems most powerful when you use it as material for something greater. For instance, did the reported voting problems show a pattern of discrimination or fraud, for instance? We don't know, because the Enquirer never took this material any farther. They used it for one story the morning after the election, and they've done nothing with it since. Today the Enquirer ran a story on how Victoria Wulsin is counting on the provisional ballots to defeat Jean Schmidt (duh!), but the story was written from Washington and has very little local information.

There's certainly more work to be done here. The Columbus Dispatch, which is covering the Pryce-Kilroy recount, is actually covering the recount. They had this story Wednesday morning, about a compromise reached on allowing provisional ballots to be counted -- a story that is important statewide, is important here in Cincinnati, and is one the Enquirer failed to report. Is the Enquirer's Columbus reporter asleep?

Then there's this. It appears someone in Columbus is tracking provisional ballots, and built a handy map in Google Earth showing which precincts handed out the most provisionals.

So, there's lots of work that could be done on this important topic. The Enquirer's just not doing it. The only thing the Enquirer got out of its grand crowdsourcing exercise was a lot of unconfirmed reports from untrained observers, nearly all of which went undigested. The Enquirer is dumping raw data on readers and calling it the future of journalism. Lord help us.

1 Comments:

Blogger The Dean of Cincinnati said...

Additionally, I actually sent the Enquirer a copy of my report about problems in Kennedy Heights. They posted no portion of my story, and Kennedy Heights did not make it on the map of places with polling problems.

So it wasn't even complete.

6:47 AM  

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