Are Commenters Still Commenters When They're Writing Headlines?

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Nieman Journalism Lab's Adrienne LaFrance says that Gawker CEO Nick Denton is adjusting the commenter/reporter relationship:

Tonight Gawker is rolling out a new kind of reblogging functionality to Kinja so that readers can top the articles they share with their own headlines and introductions. (It’ll first enable Gawker Media staffers to re-top stories; that power will roll out to all readers soon.) “Publishing should be a collaboration between authors and their smartest readers,” Denton told the Lab earlier this year. “And at some point the distinction should become meaningless.”...The idea is to give anyone the ability to reframe an existing article for any audience. Think of it like super-aggregating: You can share an entire article rather than just quoting excerpts or linking to the original, but you can also top it with your own headline, lede, and commentary. “For instance, say a story was written for gamers — they can translate it for a more general audience,” Denton said. “And, if that URL is shared, it is shared with the new headline and intro.”

This is an interesting idea that could take the idea of blogging—citizen journalism—to the obvious next level. I get the sense that Denton would like to completely obliterate the idea of authorship. Which would certainly make running Gawker a cheaper prospect. And I think it could be a correct assumption about the future of news and blogging; the internet's remix culture hasn't yet penetrated text the way it's gotten into images and video, but it's only a matter of time before block quotes and bylines start to break down and text becomes a crowdsourced proposition.

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