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From: Fortunalee

Date: 12/7/14

There's a difference between crowdsourcing and crowdcheaping.

Crowdsourcing is when you use the power of crowds (like on Twitter) to gather lots of information from a vast pool of people, usually in a short period of time. Crowdsourcing is a valuable and legitimate means of research, but it's not reporting.

But increasingly, I'm seeing what amounts to nothing more than crowdcheaping. It's the news equivalent of television "reality shows". Why pay for scripted shows and real actors, when you can cheap out and let human nature take its (semi-scripted) course, and show people for the real asses they are, paying them in notoriety and bright lights?

What are the news organizations doing? Asking silly (or stupid) questions on Twitter, and sending out the hook, "Send us your stories and photos!"

Really? Why should I?

I'm going to do your work for you, for free?

Why don't you plan out your stories, hire a reporter to go find and write them, pay a photographer to capture it, a sound tech to record it, an editor to edit the story, a producer to produce it.

Oh wait, the would mean actually paying 5 professionals to produce a story, when you can get the same thing for free! Let's slap up all those fond reminiscences and bad Instagram photos instead, and call it a news story!

Defeat the crowdcheaping movement. Ask those news orgs what they're going to pay you for your story & photos, and how many professionals they've laid off in the last 3 years. Don't fall for that hook - it's the mark of a news org that no longer bothers to staff itself adequately, and they don't deserve your content.

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