“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. Many will recognize this as the opening of Dickens his book “A tale of two cities”. Dickens meant the time of the french revolution with all the positive and negative turmoil. Looking how fast the landscape of work is changing I sometimes get the same idea (though luckily the “blood” is now virtual!). An interesting example of the change and turmoil is a site called AssignmentZero, a cooperation between Newassignment and Wired.
The idea of AssigmentZero is an attempt to do “open source journalism”. The idea is that an open community communicates about what would be interesting subjects, whom to interview, what are important questions and all other aspects relating to journalism. There is some leadership but there is also a lot of confusion, searching, irritation and of course some flames. It is intriguing to see how these people embark on a journey together to redefine how journalism works in a networked world. This is how they define their quest:
The investigation takes place in the open, not behind newsroom walls. Participation is voluntary; contributors are welcome from across the Web. The people getting, telling and vetting the story are a mix of professional journalists and members of the public — also known as citizen journalists. This is a model I describe as “pro-am.”
This mixing of professionals and the general public in order to make use of professional expertise and the open view of the general public can be an example for much more workspaces, like the police (where are the dangerous places) and city planning (creative ideas of the citizens combined with the expertise of city architects). There are a lot of challenges ahead in order to make this succeed. I think it will be worthwhile to follow this experiment.