It's Not Crowd VERSUS Editor: It's Crowd WITH Editor!

Richard Porter from the BBC, Rowan Barnett from Twitter, Benjamin Ruth from VICE Media and Måns Adler, founder of Bambuser, spoke at "The Future of News - The Crowd vs. the Editor?" about the advantages and disadvantages of citizen journalism.

All participants agreed that the focus in the future will be on working "together" rather than "against each other." As Richard Porter from BBC Global News noted, "Journalists and the 'crowd' work together; they complement each other and profit from one another. The most important thing in this situation is earning the trust of viewers, listeners and users in the information provided (…). This is why our editors spend a large amount of time reviewing and fact-checking information: in other words, doing what journalists have always done." Rowan Barnett, Head of Twitter Germany, also argued that the 'crowd' and journalists don't work against each other, rather they complement each other's work. For journalists, the crowd is an important tool in acquiring information and creating content for breaking news: "In the past several years, many breaking news items from all over the world were found on Twitter first, and only then taken up by journalists," Barnett noted. Benjamin Ruth, Head of VICE Media Germany, also emphasized the information edge that journalists gain from news supplied by users: "Social networks and platforms have given us millions of new colleagues, so to speak. The task of journalists now is to check that information and put it in a coherent context. We can only create added value when we can articulate the things that we see and hear in a comprehensible context."


Måns Adler, whose company Bambuser created an app that enables real-time video streams, spoke of the advantages that large media companies could have as a result of this form of news production: "The costs associated with journalist-produced films especially from abroad are simply too high for most editorial departments. But when they use material garnered from the crowd, they're able to keep on working." This was confirmed by Twitter's Richard Barnett: "The crowd is everywhere. The media companies are not." For Benjamin Ruth, social platforms represent a key advantage due to their role as "feedback channels." He also noted that there is no longer a top-down process but rather an active dialogue between editorial teams and the crowd. In his opinion, this is precisely where the true power lies: "Building public opinion. Creating what democracy is about. That's the beauty of social media."