Crowdsourcing on WNYC / by Nate Westheimer

Some of the coolest things I've seen in the "crowdsourcing," "mash-up," and "investigative reporting" departments come from New York's own WNYC. Disclosure: Among other things, I am the Technology Strategist at National Public Broadcasting. WNYC is one of our clients. I actually stumbled the Brian Lehrer Show's ongoing experiment in crowdsourcing through another great New York media outlet: Thrillist. (Screenshot from this morning's email below)

Picture 14 What the Lehrer show has managed to do is use their broadcast reach to organize hundreds of listeners around researching specific topics. Thrillist pointed to a project on Price Gouging this morning -- in this case, hundreds of listeners in a matter of weeks went out and prices a 6-pack of Bud, a gallon of whole milk, and a head of lettuce, and then submitted those prices on a Google Maps (check out the maps of the beer, milk, and lettuce here) -- but I was pleased to see that this is an ongoing occurrence for the BL show. Back in August, Brian asked "How Many SUVs Are on Your Block?" Over people 400 went out and counted the total cars, counted the number of SUVs and came up with this awesome map. Picture 15-1What strikes me about these crowdsourcing projects is how a "traditional broadcaster" (I say in quotes because of how influential WNYC has been in driving new media trends, such as podcasting) used his reach to effectively use web resources and get real people involved. While anyone could have done this mash-up, few could have gotten hundreds of everyday people (not just the technorati) to contribute to such everyday and important causes.

And it's cool to see it happen in our backyard.