Monday, 17 October 2011

Guardian adds sport and calendar to open newslist

The Guardian has added sport and and a calendar of upcoming events to its open newslist experiment where the paper is sharing its newslist with readers.

As part of the experiment, the paper is adding reporters' Twitter contacts so readers can get in touch if they can provide extra information or insights to a story.

Dan Roberts, the Guardian's national news editor, has reviewed the impact of the move to open up the newslist on a blog.

He writes: "The remarkable thing about our experiment publishing The Guardian's list of upcoming stories is why newspapers have been so secretive about such information for so long. Whatever competitive advantage may have been lost by giving rivals a clue what we were up to was more than made up for by a growing range of ideas and tips from readers.

"Admittedly, to begin with, most of the interest was in the concept of open news rather than the content of our list," Roberts says, but adds: "Gradually, the interest from readers began to eclipse the interest from other journalists and a subtle shift began to take place in our newsroom priorities.

"A good example was our coverage of the UK government's health reforms, which many readers felt didn't do justice to the worrying revolution facing one of Britain's national treasures. We initially responded by ramping up our live coverage of the two-day NHS debate in the House of Lords - attracting over 1,000 comments.

"But we also asked our health reporter to do a bit of digging and list today an upcoming story on how cuts have already begun to hit services.

"Complex issues like this require more than a few hours notice to generate usable tips however, so we are also updating the newslist experiment to include a calender of upcoming events to give readers a chance to take part in longer-range reporting projects. We have also responded to some requests to add other sections such as sport. I suspect more tweaking is needed to improve communication but am hopeful that this clever work to translate the list into a format that developers can use will help produce a cleaner user experience."

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