Ever wonder how the news sausage gets made? London's Guardian newspaper announced on Monday an experiment in "opening up" its news coverage to readers by publishing the daily list of upcoming stories that is maintained by the paper's editors.
The Guardian is hoping that by publishing its "newslist," readers will help shape upcoming stories by "talking to editors and reporters about upcoming stories as we work on them."
The "newslists" include direct links to the Twitter feeds of on-duty editors and reporters, and the paper is encouraging readers to contact them:
You can tell us what you think of individual stories and suggest lines of inquiry using Twitter by tweeting to the hashtag #opennews. We will retweet a selection in the panel of our tweets opposite. Alternatively, try contacting whichever reporter has been assigned to the story by clicking on the link next to their name and sending them a Twitter message. For anything confidential, ask one of us to follow you and you can send a direct message instead, or if you'd rather not even do that you can send us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org - though this is less likely to be spotted than a tweet.
Some critics, however, predict it won't be readers contacting the Guardian's editors and reporters--it'll be public-relations flacks.
"We're a busy newsdesk so we won't be able to reply to everything," the editors explained. "But we will be reading it and taking your views into account."
The Guardian isn't completely opening up its news meetings for public view:
We won't quite show you everything. We can't tell you about stories that are under embargo or, sometimes, exclusives that we want to keep from our competitors, but most of our plans will be there for all to see, from the parliamentary debates we plan to cover to the theatre we plan to review. We reserve the right to stick to our guns, but would love to know what you think. Sometimes you will see how quiet it is; other times you will wonder how we intend to fit it all in. Above all, bear in mind these are real-time working documents and, by definition, only provisional.
The editors plan to keep this "experiment in openness" live for at least two weeks.
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