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An experiment in participatory journalism

Wade Roush, senior editor for Technology Review, has created a blog for an article he is writing on on continuous social computing. The full article is now posted on the Continuous Computing Blog and readers are commenting on the article to help shape and inform what is eventually published in the magazine. He’s using pop-up boxes to annotate changes and identify sources and comments throughout the text.

In thinking about Cynthia Miller’s contention that newsrooms would be better off with more women in positions of decisionmaking, I wonder if the movement towards participatory, collaborative, open-source journalism — as represented by Roush’s experiment — might create spaces for women to contribute in ways that weren’t as accessible in older forms of journalism.

Carol Gilligan’s take on feminist ethics contends that women’s moral voice …”speaks a language of care stressing relationships and responsibilities,” whereas men stress a “language of justice emphasizing rights and rules.”

The ability to collaborate, listen, and engage in conversation clearly isn’t the sole domain of either gender. But if women historically have tended toward a way of relating to the world that exercises these qualities, then employing more women in newsrooms that want to develop news ways of doing journalism might be just one of the catalysts needed to propel us forward.

One Response to “An experiment in participatory journalism”

  1. Wade Roush Says:

    Donica: Thanks for mentioning my experiment. But one distressing finding so far has been that the ratio of male to female commentators on the new blog is about 10 to 1. The conclusion I draw is that simply creating accessible, participatory spaces on the Web isn’t enough to elicit women’s involvement. We also have to do something to overcome the cultural gender biases inherent in the subject matter (computing, in this case) and in the general workings of the Web.