Newspapers are betting on participatory journalism

The New York Times published an interesting article (free registration required) yesterday about the News & Record and its new experiment with participatory journalism.

“This feature, part of a planned overhaul of The News & Record’s Web site that is to begin next week, is a potent symbol of a transformation taking place across the country, where top-down, voice-of-God journalism is being challenged by what is called participatory journalism, or civic or citizen journalism.”

Several similar projects are mentioned in the article and I especially reacted to the underlying reasons for taking such initiatives.

“Nearly all newspapers have been troubled by a range of substantially similar worries: the loss of 18-to-34-year-old readers; the loss of trust in conventional news media; and the emergence of technology, especially blogs, that make it easy for ordinary people to barge into the old media’s one-way conversation.”

In my recent survey (pdf) of 600 Swedish bloggers and blog readers I found that 69.4% of all blog readers are between 16 and 35, so the approach to engage in citizen journalism seems logical. It should be an initiative that the target group is interested in.