Anytime I hear the word “crowdsourcing,” I cringe. While surely plenty good can come of relying on this “design/discover by democracy” concept, I feel that it puts faith in the wrong hands. I feel that, in a sense it trivializes the tasks of professionals, while putting an over-reliance on what is essentially free labor.

The term “crowdsourcing” comes from a 2006 article from Wired entitled “The Rise of Crowdsourcing.” The term is a portmanteau of “crowd” and “outsourcing.” I feel that just like outsourcing, which puts American jobs at risk, “crowdsourcing” puts good quality journalism at risk. As CNN has tried to do with iReport, stations are trying to capitalize on this trend. If they don’t pay for it, they don’t lose anything. The problem, I feel, is that the news consumer, i.e. you and me, loses out from this. While it may be cheaper to produce for the networks/websites, I don’t feel that it provides a service that actually surpasses what a journalist does. That is, people can’t learn as much from iReport as from a skilled journalist.

However, some people would beg to differ. In the following video, 2010¬†Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards Paul Lewis, runs through why he thinks that “crowdsourcing” will ultimately provide a real service to journalism. I sincerely hope so.

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