Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Newsvine and MSNBC

I've been wondering about this for a day or two--putting these two ideas together could be brilliance, or it could be a repeat of the disastrous AOL-Time Warner deal. Some cultures just don't get along. We'll see.

Media Mashup: What Does the MSNBC-Newsvine Mean for Journalism?
MSNBC's purchase of amateur journalism web site Newsvine adds a dose of credibility to so-called "citizen journalism," but also raises questions about how professional and amateur reporters can coexist under one corporate roof.

The deal, which combines Seattle-based Newsvine with Seattle-based MSNBC, is the first acquisition in MSNBC's 11-year history. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The rapidly growing "citizen journalism" movement has emerged in opposition to the so-called "mainstream media." Advocates see citizen journalism as a way to break what they feel is a corporate stranglehold on information.

As such, the MSNBC-Newsvine linkup creates an obvious tension: How can Newsvine maintain its independent, amateur ethos as part of a large news organization staffed by professional reporters? At the same time, how can MSNBC maintain its credibility as it increasingly incorporates amateur news reports?

MSNBC is a joint venture between NBC Universal and Microsoft.

"Anytime you have two different cultures under the same roof, there are challenges," Sree Sreenivasan, the dean of students at Columbia Journalism School and an expert on new media, told Portfolio.com. Sreenivasan is also an on-air tech reporter at WNBC-TV.

"User-generated content is fraught with both opportunities and challenges," Sreenivasan said, adding that when professional journalism outfits link up with amateurs, "there is a risk that credibility goes down."

However, Sreenivasan said, "News isn't only what New York Times editors say it is anymore. Users are increasingly influencing news.

"Moving forward, you're going to see a lot of traditional news organizations getting involved with smaller, more nimble outfits," he said.

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