Just like the homeschooling revolution has played an important role in transforming the educational status quo - the virtual school phenom comes to mind - so has the amateur media, clicking on their mice, impacted how newspaper chains collect and dissemniate news. The once cautious publishing companies are now soliciting help from readers and customers, because they are taking an unsentimental look at the bottom line. But the industry insiders have also learned that amateurs can be a goldmine of helpful information.
For example, a newspaper in Florida decided to ask the reading public to play detective and find out why residents in a new housing development were being charged an exorbitant amount of money for their water and sewer connection. The results of this experiment in colloboration? Illumination:
"The response overwhelmed the paper, which had to assign additional staff just to deal with the volume of tips, phone calls, and emails. The News-Press posted hundreds of pages of documents to its site, and readers organized their own investigations: Retired engineers analyzed blueprints, accountants examined balance sheets, and an inside whistle-blower leaked evidence of possible bid-rigging.
In the end, the city cut utility charges by more than 30 percent, an official resigned, and the fees have become the driving issue in an upcoming special election of the city council."
Score one for the Pajamahadeen and John Q. Public.