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Crowdsourcing in the News

  • July 27, 2008: The Washington Post
    While I was on vacation The Post's Jane Black dropped a line to ask me what I thought about crowdsourcing in restaurants. Naturally, I replied that I don't think about crowdsourcing in restaurants. In fact, I'm always asked when crowdsourcing doesn't work, and I've tended to use just such retail examples as this. After all, do you really want the crowd making your tofu chili? This sure shows my lack of imagination. Turns out that a few entrepreneurial restaurateurs are doing just this. Black's piece made A1 in yesterday's paper.
  • March 25, 2007: New York Times and NPR's On the Media
    Another twofer: First, in yesterday's Times Jason Pontin takes a first-hand look at Mechanical Turk, and Jeff Bezos' notion of "artificial artifical intelligence." His experience is less than satisfactory, and a reminder that not everything should be crowdsourced.

    My favorite NPR show, On the Media, interviews TPM Muckraker's Paul Kiel about the site's recent experiment in crowdsourcing. Muckraker asked its readers to parse the 3,000 emails pertaining to the firing of federal prosecutors that Dept. of Justice released last week. Within hours Muckraker readers were ferreting out compromising passages, some of which led to news leads for MSM pubs, further evidence that the crowd has a promising future in performing investigative functions. Shady politicians (is that phrase redundant?) beware.
  • March 19, 2007: New York Times and Detroit Free Press
    Today's a twofer: The New York Times' David Carr writes about Assignment Zero in his column, "The Media Equation." I edited David a few times at the now defunct (It shined brightly but briefly). If memory serves, he could recall obscure circulation figures on certain newspapers and magazines from memory. No mean media critic, in other words. So I was elated to see him give Assignment Zero a cautiously optimistic treatment.

    Crowdsourcing also made the Detroit Free Press today, where religion writer David Crumm writes about how theologians and pastors are using the model to let their congregations "shape a church's worship and programs." I haven't followed the crowdsourcing in religion angle as much as I'd like, and this is a great introduction to the subject.
  • March 16, 2007: Radio: WNYC - Crowdsourcing and Music
    Does user-generated content threaten the recording industry? That presumes there's still a recording industry to speak of. I'm kidding—kinda. But CD sales get more and more anemic and companies building businesses out of unknown bands—call it music by the crowd—look more and more interesting (and viable) all the time. Yesterday I was on one of my favorite WNYC shows, "Soundcheck" discussing all this and more. Stream or download the show here. You can listen to my segment alone (it runs about 20 minutes), but I recommend you listen to the opening segment on the bizarre-but-intriguing Midomi is a social networking site that allows you to search for music by singing a few bars into a microphone connected to your computer. Soundcheck brought in a trained opera singer to put Midomi's software to the test, with humorous results. American Idol-meets-Myspace-meets-iTunes-meets-voice-recognition-software. That's some mash-up. What will those Stanford smarties dream up next?

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