NYT to launch two citizen journalism websites

The sites will focus on three New Jersey communities and two Brooklyn neighborhoods, with most contributions coming from local residents. A Times staffer will oversee each site; they debut Monday. “It is a grassroots effort, to see if there is a new kind of journalism we can be part of,” says editor/digital initiatives Jim Schachter.

What does this mean? For one thing, the New York Times, a newspaper that was in many respects proudly elitist, is now swinging extremely toward the most egalitarian form of journalism as a means of survival. This raises many questions about the whole notion of gatekeepers. And this one in particular: if everyone can instantly become a reporter, then who checks the quality of the work? And if anyone can be a journalist without training or experience, what about other fields? Presumably, some very talented neophytes would make good trial lawyers—better than some existing ones—even if they didn’t know all the precedents and the rules of the road. We have even seen instances where people who had not attended medical school masqueraded as doctors, and in some cases did superior work until they were caught. Meanwhile, the new president of the United States has limited experience at the federal level, and no executive background.

Is this the end of status and hierarchy as we know it? Will we regret this? Let’s discuss.


  • Russ Baker

    Russ Baker is Editor-in-Chief of WhoWhatWhy. He is an award-winning investigative journalist who specializes in exploring power dynamics behind major events.

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