Audience Participation in Newspapers

The New York Times writes:

“Get me rewrite!”

For years those words evoked the romanticism of the newspaper business, back when swashbuckling reporters landed scoops with derring-do. Today they mean something else entirely, at least here where the people at The News & Record, the local daily, are toiling to reinvent their newspaper.

In this world, “Get me rewrite” will in effect be a menu option, a way for unhappy readers to go online and offer their own versions of articles they do not like. Their hope is to convert the paper, through its Web site,, into a virtual town square, where citizens have a say in the news and where every reader is a reporter.

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.

Under this model, readers contribute to the newspaper. And they are doing so in many forms, including blogs, photos, audio, video and podcasts.

Whether such efforts can revive revenue for newspaper publishers is an open question. But with gloomy financial forecasts and declines in circulation, some papers are starting to see participatory journalism as their hope for reconnecting with their audiences.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.