Forbes is planning to involve its readers more in both the print and digital versions of its magazine. Lewis DVorkin, chief product officer of Forbes Media, recently wrote about how "At Forbes, we're beginning to open up our print and digital platforms so many more knowledgeable and credible content creators can provide information and perspective and connect with one another," he said.
He noted that with the launch of this year's Forbes 400, reader content began to appear in the pages of the magazine. "What was yesterday's audience is today's cadre of potential experts who can report what they know or filter information for distribution to friends who trust their judgments," he wrote.
A Forbes editor Michael Noer wrote last week about a crowd-sourcing effort that the magazine is planning for its January edition. The "Names You Need to Know in 2011" package will take into account the opinions of the Forbes community as well as the magazine's editors. "The idea is to ignite a Web-wide discussion about what is going to be important and impactful in our lives next year," Noer wrote, and readers are invited to submit their suggestions on a dedicated page, as well as to comment on the suggestions from writers, who will write articles about their ideas. Readers can share their suggestions on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
DVorkin also discussed making the magazine and website more open to advertisers, saying that the next issue would introduce something new for advertisers. During his time as CEO of True/Slant, a platform for journalists which was acquired by Forbes, DVorkin created a related platform for advertisers and marketers, Ad/Slant, which might be inspiration for this new Forbes initiative.
Involving readers more in reporting projects has two key advantages for news organisations: firstly, it gives them the chance to take advantage of readers' eyes, ears and expertise, and secondly it creates a more engaged community. Many news outlets are already making an effort to collaborate with their readers, particularly online. The Guardian's Alan Rusbrider and Die Zeit's Wolfgang Blau recently had an interesting discussion about the way that collaborating with readers changes the notion of a completed story.
Crowdsourcing is being used more and more frequently by news organisations to complement their own journalists' reporting. The Washington Post decided to work with a new service called Intersect to crowdsource last weekend's 'Rally to Restore Sanity.' Ushahidi, a map-based crowdsourcing platform originally created to track the aftermath of the Kenyan elections, has been used by several news organisations, and its brainchild SwiftRiver aims to make the job of verifying crowdsourced information easier. As for other examples, the Guardian announced in August that it would launch a new team focused on multimedia and crowd-sourcing, and the Boston Globe used crowd-sourcing during this year's World Cup.