Crowdsourcing and Collaborating on the News

My colleague Chris Michaels blogged just the other day about crowd sourcing news in his post on Fusion PR forum

This is the flip side to User-generated PR, a topic I just wrote about.  Crowd sourcing and collaborating on news covers the demand side, drawing on the reach (if not wisdom) of the crowds to connect bloggers and news writers with sources and story fodder.  It is a fascinating concept, and one that illustrates yet another way that the PR business is changing every day in response to Web 2.0 and social media.

One such service that has gotten lots of attention lately is HelpAReporter.com.  Peter Shankman, the site’s creator, lives and works not far from Fusion PR’s office.  He came in as a guest speaker for our internal education series this week.  It sounds like his service is really starting to get some traction.

I have signed up, and it is indeed sending a steady pipeline of qualified inquiries, three times a day.

Also, I learned about Sally Whittle’s GettingInk website when she commented on my blog.  According to Sally:

This service has been running for
several months now, as has a UK blog (run by me) called Getting Ink
Requests, which provides free media requests by email, RSS, Twitter and
on the blog itself. We’re still quite new but have more than 1,500
regular subscribers and growing!

Another site I learned about recently is Andy Fowler’s NewsVetter.  We got to chatting based on a conversation thread on my blog about poor PR writing   (with blogging you get collaboration, knowledge discovery and networking all rolled into one, isn’t it a beautiful thing?)

I spoke with Andy at length about his novel concept.  He has developed a site (still in beta) that lets people not only submit stories, but also provides a format that guides users through the process of writing a pitch.  It provides pointers along the way, alongside entry fields for different parts of the pitch, and a handy checklist at the end.

If it is not cure for poor PR writing, at least it gets you thinking about how to organize your thoughts.

Further, the site promises:

News media review the submissions, provide feedback in
the form of ratings and comments and, if warranted, contact news
presenters to discuss possible publication of their story ideas.

He lets you share the pitch publicly, or you can mark it as private and instruct the site to forward your pitch to the desired targets.

On the demand side, reporters can sign up and indicate their interests.  This is a key difference from the more established media databases, which are not opt-in (the last time I checked, anyway).

It seems the positioning he is taking is to be a step up from the sites that simply broker story opportunities and PR connections.  His site seems to want to go to the next step to ensure that interchanges are productive.  He spoke about some interesting plans such as adding all kinds of metrics tracking.

Andy impressed me with his research, and is obviously well connected.  He has spoken with many influential people and it seems like he put a lot of thought and effort into the site.

Andy has some ambitious plans and may well be interested in taking on the heavyweights like Cision and Vocus.  Although he has quite a ways to go, some very respected names in tech journalism that tech PR folks like myself know well and respect have signed on,  earning credibility  points with me and showing me that he may just be onto something with NewsVetter.

Here are a couple of other interesting concepts that I will explore further and blog about in a future post:

Fast Company writer Francisco
Dao has created a Fast Company Buzz Pitch portal for people to pitch their buzz worthy stories.  People vote for the submitted ideas, and the highest
rated ones make his column.

And a service called Handshake 2.0, which my colleague Bennie pointed out to me today, appears to do the same thing.

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6 Responses to Crowdsourcing and Collaborating on the News

  1. I love Bennie!
    Thank you very much for mentioning Handshake 2.0!
    At 6:00 AM EST on 8/25/08, I posted a blog entry on Handshake 2.0 about your mention of my site on Flack’s Revenge. It included multiple links to your site and to sites to which you referred.
    At 8:24 AM, I clicked on the link to Flack’s Revenge from the Handshake 2.0 post.
    Since I learned of your site through a link listed on my TypePad site statistics page, I just checked my TypePad’s stats to see if a link appeared from you indicating you had learned of my blog post in some way.
    I don’t see a click from you to me.
    I’m posting this comment a little after 10:00 AM.
    Only if you care to share or are interested in this, I would welcome knowing your answer to this question:
    Did you learn of my comment on your blog from an e-mail from TypePad indicating someone had left a comment (I use TypePad’s notification system to learn of comments–you may use a different way) or from seeing your site stats page indicating the 8:24 AM click to your site originating from Handshake 2.0?
    Why do I ask? I’m still trying to see and understand the art and science of how blogs work.
    And it took me 10 days to ponder what you had written, to study other posts on your blog, to reflect on what you were saying and how you were saying it, and to express my own synthesis.
    Does a blog comment left 10 days after the original blog post matter? To you, to the blogosphere, to your standing in top lists of blogs, to your listing in search results?
    I hope so. I find your work informed, informing, and thought-provoking. Thanks for doing it.

  2. Bob Geller says:

    Anne
    Thanks for reading, and for your kind words (and mention) about my blog. I learned of your comment through the Typepad dashboard. Bennie sent an email with your website and I clicked on this (yes, Bennie rocks!).
    Comments are always welcome, even if on a post that is a little dated. Having said that, the various sites that track which blogs are buzzing about which topics probably rely on some kind of time window when considering how talked about the topic is.
    You might want to look at CoComment (at the website of the same name) which provides a utility for tracking comments across the blogosphere.
    Hope this helps

  3. You’ve been very generous with me and I really appreciate it.
    Only if you care to answer:
    Did you go to the Handshake 2.0 site and read the post I wrote that was inspired by your mention of Handshake 2.0 on Flack’s Revenge?
    (I ask because I couldn’t tell from my TypePad dashboard whether or not you had. You also inspired a new post, set for 6:00 AM, 8/27/08.)
    From a link on Handshake 2.0 to your site, I clicked one time at 8:24 AM on 8/25/08. I refrained from clicking again until about 24 hours later. Other than from my 8:24 AM visit, did you get any other traffic to your site from Handshake 2.0? If so, are you open to sharing how many visits?
    If you care to ask him, do you know how Bennie found out about Handshake 2.0? I know a reporter at Valleywag, Nicholas Carlson. Could that be the connection?
    Finally, would you be willing to share your top three pieces of PR advice for high-tech start-ups for guest posts on Handshake 2.0 and on Inside VT KnowledgeWorks?
    Thanks for the new value add–CoComment. I look forward to checking it out.
    And if you’ve had enough fun and choose not to comment on this comment, I still thank you again for your mention and for your first comment–I’ve learned so much!

  4. Bob Geller says:

    Anne
    I applaud your inquisitive nature, you are asking some great questions. I will ask Bennie (she, not he) when she is back from vacation and let you know how your site came to her attention; I believe one of our clients was on H20 (we work with lots of tech startups).
    I appreciate the chance to offer some advice but would first like to learn more about your forums so that it is informed advice.
    I reviewed your post that mentioned FR, thanks again for that, and noted one visitor coming from H20 to FR yesterday at 852am ET (guess that was you).
    Looking forward to checking out your forums and staying in touch.

  5. My apologies to Bennie! I love HER! SHE rocks!
    Thank you for your kind words. And you ask a great question: What are my forums?
    Although your site stats show otherwise, I actually am not the only person reading my own blog. :) So, I’ll ponder your question, hopefully in under 10 days this time.
    You may have seen this, but it’s my offer of a value add from the ProNet listserv, Merlin Mann’s “What Makes for a Good Blog?”
    Yours has ‘em all.
    http://www.43folders.com/2008/08/19/good-blogs
    Thanks very much,
    Anne

  6. Really appreciated your comment on Handshake 2.0.
    Been writing all morning thanks to your question about forums. It’s long but I’ve posted it here for the time being if you’re interested.
    http://annegilesclelland.typepad.com/entrepreneur/2008/08/why.html
    This has been such a rich dialogue. Has stimulated other dialogues with others. Thank you so much.

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