While reading Muthukumaraswamy’s article, I felt she took a positive, almost one-sided, view of crowdsourcing. Even when speaking of UK newspaper The Guardian’s Katine project it sounded as if it could do no wrong. ‘Katine was chosen because of the nobility of the cause’ (p57).
There were a few hazy parts to his analysis. Who writes the Katine blogs? He says Guardian journalists, then talks about local journalists (but there was an illiteracy problem). No clear answer there. Also, what is the importance of the website to the whole project? And does Muthukumaraswamy sugar coat the project, and focus only on the positive aspects?
The problem in finding additional sources for this blog post is that most of the information is published by The Guardian. So when I looked for the improvements this project had brought to Katine, I found only articles from The Guardian.
So what good came out of the whole project? The Guardian focuses on improvements to the region in terms of health, water, education etc. What about the website? I couldn’t find any information on that but I was interested to find out what improvements were made over the three years there.
This article lists the different improvements the project has brought to the Katine sub-county, including boreholes for clean water, building new classrooms etc. It seems that the website was just a by-product of the project, a way to garner publicity.
Muthukumaraswamy’s article glosses over problems or conflict between local government in Africa and those involved in the humanitarian project.
This blog is written by someone who went to Katine to monitor progress of the project, both for The Guardian and on another occasion for Amref. It gives a more frank view of the project and its weaknesses, such as conflict between The Guardian and Amref. The author questions the impact of the website, queries The Guardian’s reasons for being involved in the project and discusses the transparency of the website.
Rick Davies is an independent auditor of the Katine project. He questions how the Katine website can be used productively. I agree with him, it would be a waste if the website was left to occupy space somewhere in cyberspace but not used again. He also says that the blogs were written by local and British journalists.
Subtitle: Wisdom of crowds in specialized reporting by recruiting generalists and experts.
British and local Ugandan journalists wrote the blogs on the Katine website.They can be considered as generalists and experts. Ugandan journalists understand the difficulties in the region and British journalists blogged after visiting the area.
I just wonder can that be defined as crowdsourcing? Should crowdsourcing not be regular people contributing to newsworkers’ work? Surely journalists are not part of the crowd. They are involved in the process of newsmaking already.
The Guardian‘s website brought attention to the area and surely helped the project’s progress. I’m just not sure I would consider it crowdsourcing.