The Project for Excellence in Journalism has released a survey, “The Latest News Headlines—Your Vote Counts,” and asks:
If someday we have a world without journalists, or at least without editors, what would the news agenda look like? How would citizens make up a front page differently than professional news people? If a new crop of user-news sites—and measures of user activity on mainstream news sites—are any indication, the news agenda will be more diverse, more transitory, and often draw on a very different and perhaps controversial list of sources, according to a new study.
With respect (and I have a lot of respect for PEJ), this feels like the wrong question — and it reaches a debatable answer — although the survey has value.
We are not heading to a world with no editors. A portion of the editorial role, at least the part of the editorial role that involves picking stories, is moving to community-driven sites. Digg, Reddit and others in the PEJ survey are crude approximations, however, of what is coming.
Voting is about popularity, and that proves
nothinglittle. Mix in reputation — an enormously complex problem — and you have something worthwhile. I’ll have more on this in a longer piece soon.