Phone app lets news readers be extraordinarily helpful

By Steve Outing

On the latest Journalism Now Podcast (where I’m one of the regulars), we interviewed Jacob Colker, founder of a very cool “micro-volunteering” service using the iPhone (and the web).

The Extraordinaries is a brilliant concept in empowering the crowd to do good things. Foremost, the idea is to allow people to use the little bits of spare time they have (riding the bus home, waiting at the DMV, waiting for the movie to start, etc.) to do small bits of volunteering using the Extraordinaries iPhone app. Examples include tagging photos for the Smithsonian or other museums. The San Diego Voice investigative news website is asking people to use the app to record location and photos of city agencies and buildings wasting water during the current drought period.

This app and model of micro-volunteering has potentially huge implications for journalism. Reporters and editors should be thinking about how Colker’s project can help them improve and expand their reporting and research projects. I hope you’ll listen to the interview.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!