An experiment for local media to watch

Assignment Zero logoJay Rosen is a friend and colleague and a brilliant man. The launch yesterday of Assignment Zero, the first project of his creative effort to combine professional and amateur journalists, is both timely and historic. is a blending of some of the most amazing new and old media minds, but it is Jay’s vision that is pushing the journalism envelope with the project.

The most refreshing thing about the whole deal is the almost playful spirit associated with those involved. It’s not that this isn’t terribly serious, for it is, but every person admits that this is being made up as it goes along. And let’s face it; we first learned how to do that in kindergarten, so why shouldn’t there be a little joy? The goals are great journalism and insight into how professionals and amateurs might work together. The path? Well, that’s open to discovery.

In the end, one hopes that the birthing process will deliver something — perhaps not all, but at least part — of what free people might be able to accomplish by working together with a common purpose. The first assignment is crowdsourcing, and the resultant story will be published in Wired. I, for one, can’t wait.

And as I always must do, I want to remind everybody that the possibilities for such coöperation are even more significant at the local level than at the national or global level. This is yet another reason why entry into the Media 2.0 space is a necessity for all local media companies.

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