Journalism By The People; For The People

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Stephan Michaeli, Postgraduate

As humanity travels deeper into the digital age, we remain plagued by many recurring issues. Income inequality, irresponsible businesses, political corruption — to name just a few. But with the powers of technology, one such problem is becoming unacceptable. The vital craft of journalism is still dominated by a few powerful media empires.

Fortunately, technology has begun to break this monopoly. News reports often use footage that is already circulating through social media. Smartphones and the internet mean anyone has the potential to become a journalist. But these citizen and professional journalists alike are still neglected by the industry. They do not see a fair share of the revenue their vital work helps create. So how then can a more democratic system be created? Though several websites have tried this, one in particular seems to stand out.

In order to give everyone a fair platform, Crowdpondent, a new website, is trying to crowdsource journalism. Rather than simply hiring a select group of individuals to write, this platform will give everyone a means to share their perspective — perspectives that are as essential as they are neglected. Anyone can sign up — from veteran journalists to freelance writers to bloggers — and depending on the performance of their articles, they will be remunerated. This payment is not just based on views however, but by how readers rate the piece. This way mindless clickbait would be outcast and high-quality original content encouraged.

These articles will also be limited to 300 words. Firstly, this means important content will be published quickly. Nothing beats speed in this digital age. But this will not compromise content, it will merely concentrate it into its most important and concise form. This will allow readers to gain a great deal of incite while covering a wide array of topics. Despite shrinking attention spans, too much content contains needless waffling. With the help of our writing guide, as well as our dedicated team, writers will be learnt to make the most out of each word — a skill transferable to many other facets of life. Not least essay writing.

Indeed, students are ideal ‘crowdpondents’. They are digitally savvy, informed and tend to be very politically charged. As such, Crowdpondent will launch a competition between universities to encourage students to become crowdpondents. The winning team will get a generous cash prize on top of their general reimbursements, but to earn it, they must not only get the most views on their articles, but the community must also rate their articles very highly.

This publication will also be one of the many new startups to embrace Bitcoin. This has several advantages. Firstly, for writers around the world, the extortionate fees of international bank transfers will be avoided. It will also ensure anonymity for those who truly need it. But it is also the sort of modern mechanism that is necessary for meaningful change in society.

The ideal outcome for this website, and something that journalism certainly could do with, would be a global collection of crowdpondents. Anyone who is able and willing to write about the important or interesting issues and does so. They are rewarded for their efforts, and as a result, more information can be gathered, more perspectives can be seen. This will allow us to understand our world better. The traditional channels of media no longer suffice. The crowd must be heard.