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Is An Open News Approach The Way To Go?

Last week, I blogged about the Guardian’s experimental decision to share part of its newslists with the public. The move was somewhat risky. Traditionally, newspapers keep their lists of upcoming stories close to the vest in an effort to scoop the competition.

A little more than a week in, and the Guardian’s experiment is going well, writes Dan Roberts, the paper’s national editor. So well, in fact, that they are extending the process and including more sections of the paper in the newslists made public.

“… the remarkable thing about our experiment publishing the Guardian’s list of upcoming stories is why newspapers have been so secretive about such information for so long,” Roberts comments in the blog post. “Whatever competitive advantage may have been lost by giving rivals a clue what we were up to was more than made up for by a growing range of ideas and tips from readers.”

This begs the question: Should more newspapers/news organizations consider an open news approach?

The Guardian is not the first paper to publish its upcoming stories publicly. Journalism.co.uk reported in June that Norran, a Swedish regional paper, had opened its newsroom to readers with eReader, a tool powered by CoverItLive that allows readers to speak with reporters in real time about stories.

In May, the Atlantic Wire decided to be “radically” transparent and established Open Wire, an open platform, powered by Disqus, where anyone can suggest story ideas or edits. “The reason for our experiment in transparency, moving the editorial conversation that keeps the site running out into the open, was primarily that we couldn’t think of a good reason not to do it,” wrote editor Gabriel Snyder.

In this week’s popular Twitter chat #journchat, the Guardian’s open news experiment was a topic of conversation. Ben Ilfeld, co-founder of the Sacramento Press, a “strictly online newspaper,” said his organization was seriously considering opening up some of its newslists to its readers.

“We’re planning on giving it a shot. I’ll report how it goes in a month or so,” he tweeted.

Are there negative examples of news organizations sharing their newslists? If so, please let me know.

As it is, the examples seem to have shown that news organizations mainly benefit from being more transparent with readers. Of course not every story, especially breaking news or scoop-worthy ones, will make the list. But in an age where Twitter is how people find out news, why not let the readers have more involvement and say in stories.

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