'40,000 citizen journalists working to report one story for your paper? It's possible, we did it'
Grzegorz Piechota, of Gazeta Wyborcza, on how his newspaper successfully embraced online reader interaction
Mr Piechota claimed that his papers' requests for reviews for the first Human Birth project, in 1996, only received 2000 replies. Last year, however, the paper's internet development led to them receiving 40,000 reviews of care standards.
Each review was then fact-checked by a team of 170 editors and volunteers.
The citizen journalism project, he claims, has spun off into message boards with millions of posts, 200,000 uploaded photos and regular supplements in local editions.
"People are ready to collaborate with the newspaper if you give then an important cause. If you treat interaction just like another feature on your website it just doesn't work. But if you really want to change the world readers will be happy to help you," he said.
"Readers are not journalists, they don't try to be objective, they don't cross-check facts and they prefer to stay anonymous. I would not rely on them on an every day basis or on every issue. But readers are the best experts in real life advice.
"You could send a hundred reporters to the hospital but a single mother could tell you more stories than all of them."
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