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How do you guarantee quality in crowdsourced journalism?

Peter Stojanovic

Why was Andrea Manfredi, Blasting News CEO, seeking journalistic advice? His new platform needed to ensure quality despite its thousands of contributors.

Democratizing journalism is an honorable vision, but it comes with baggage.

When journalism is left in the hands of a majority, the stories can come in thick and fast and by generating content from a larger workforce, the audience will grow by the same means; citizen journalism has become a popular model thanks to advances in technology.

The baggage however comes in the form of quality, or lack thereof. How do you ensure the quality of journalism stays consistent when your writers are laypeople?

Seeking journalistic advice is how Andrea Manfredi, CEO of citizen journalism platform Blasting News, sought to rectify this potential issue.

“Towards the end of 2013 I spent quite a few weeks asking important journalists what they think about 2 things: how do you define quality and what is a quality article.”

Those are important questions for any platform, but especially for one like Blasting News.

Manfredi set up his journalism platform because he felt that the Italian media in particular was a closed trade, nepotistic and in need of a vigorous shake up.

The world agreed: Blasting News’ contributor network and audience has blown up; the site now receives 20 million unique hits every month.

Seeking journalistic advice allowed Manfredi to understand that when these contributors, or blasters, write an article, quality assurance is key to make sure the company’s model stands the test of time – otherwise people will move onto the next new project.

Manfredi then asked his journalists about guidelines.

“Regarding the guidelines, they said it was very important to follow these 2 points: make it free…and make sure you don’t get sued.”

It’s like any young startup, regardless of industry: asking for expert advice in the field of interest goes a long way.

In this case, seeking journalistic advice helped Manfredi and Blasting News retain a sense of validity within the world of online journalism.