CNN has started an interesting project called iReport. They’re looking to augment their professional journalism with citizen journalism. It’s a little different from the normal “send us in your pictures of disasters.” It also looks like the first big push from a major news outlet since the failed LA Times attempt a couple of years ago.
From a UGC and a Web 2.0 prospective, iReport has some great benefits for CNN.
It adds to their core offering – By opening this up to a wide range of people, CNN potentially has much more material to show its viewers, both online and offline.
It gives them a huge feedback group – Even if they don’t use the material, they can tap into the content generators and have them react (a big deal for TV). They did this, for example, after the debates.
It teaches people about journalism – Not only is this a great public service (check out their advice on how to create a story) that educates the public, it makes content generators more appreciative of how hard it is to create good stories.
Now, take those three things, and see if you can apply them to your company or client. If you can do that through customer participation, you should win. I hope CNN does, it’s a great idea.
I only wonder how much this costs them to do. You can surely measure the monetary impact of participation, but it still would be fun to get an ROI check on this.