Pro-Am Journalism Experiment Learns Hard Lessons

by Dan Blank on July 19, 2007

Wired’s experiment with pro-am journalism, Assignment Zero, has come to an end. They share some lessons.

“Although Assignment Zero produced a strong body of work, consisting of seven original essays and some 80 Q&As, the real value of the exercise was discovery. We learned a lot about how crowds come together, and what’s required to organize them well. But many of the lessons came too late to help Assignment Zero.

“In the 12 weeks the project was open to the public, it suffered from haphazard planning, technological glitches and a general sense of confusion among participants. Crucial staff members were either forced out or resigned in mid-stream, and its ambitious goal — to produce “the most comprehensive knowledge base to date on the scope, limits and best practices of crowdsourcing” — had to be dramatically curtailed in order to yield some tangible results when Assignment Zero ended on June 5.”

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