Redefining Journalism I – The AOL Version

Among the many people who think it is their mission in life to redefine journalism is Saul Hansell.  He left his job at the NY times for AOl’s new venture, Seed.  Seed is essentially an assignment desk for the company’s 80 web sites, and it’s a way for AOL to assign stories to anyone on the web.  Writing for AOL, you can make $30 to $300 writing a story that will “satisfy the world’s curiosity”.   What kind of things arouse curiosity in the world?  TechCrunch’s Eric Schonfeld signed up and took a look around the assignement desk to see what there was to see.  AOL was offering someone $80 to interview a pet groomer and come up with a story on How to Untangle Matted Hair on a Cat.  For a quick $25, you could do a think piece on “How Humans Will Colonize the Oceans” or “The Top 6 Things Snuck Into Space”. Maybe the concept of having citizen journalists write about what they know best, while at the same time retaining a staff of actual journalists, is redefining journalism.  But with these kind of topics, I don’t think that the Economist has anything to worry about.


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