Canadian newspaper uses crowdsourcing to register readers as potential sources

In an effort to "find the right people to offer insight, perspectives and ideas on the issues of the day," Canada's Calgary Herald has introduced a new initiative allowing potential sources to register with the newspaper, the Herald reported. Known as "Be a Source," the system encourages anyone with "an area of expertise," whether "politics, health care or playing the kazoo," to sign up as a source to be contacted by journalists.

Poynter referred to it as "metacrowdsourcing,” or "applying crowdsourcing to sourcing itself rather than an individual reporting project."

Crowdsourcing, or turning to a large group of citizens to perform a task that normally would be done by an individual, has turned into a popular way to bring citizens into the news process, and to help journalists better do their jobs.

For example, on Wed., Feb. 1, New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers turned to crowdsourcing, asking readers to help identify a cluster bomb found outside of Mizdah, south of Tripoli.

And the Americas Society/Council of the Americas recently released a guide compiling crowdsourcing websites throughout Latin America. Also, last year the Washington Post launched a crowd-sourced fact-checking mechanism for readers to question or refute claims made by politicians. News outlets also used crowdsourcing for their 9/11 coverage, according to Yahoo News' The Cutline.