Worksheet: Planning a Crowd-Powered Collaboration

This incorporates material from this guide, as well as from ProPublica's crowdsourcing checklist.

The Investigation

What is the question you want to answer?

Is your reporting priority quantitative or qualitative?

What kind of stories (text, audio, video, visualizations) will this effort likely produce?

What are the reporting gaps?


Can the question you're asking be answered by surveying the public? Or would this be better accomplished through public records requests or existing datasets?

Can you gather the information you need with a single structured set of questions?

Who do you want to respond to your questions? Who is your target audience?

Once you've identified your target audience, ask: Why would they want to participate?

Why wouldn't your target audience want to participate? What concerns should you address?

What languages does your target audience speak? Do you have participating reporters who speak those languages?

Where is your target audience already discussing this issue, online or in person?

Who is influential among your target audience? And what do they think about your idea?

How will you use audience submissions? What's the best way to explain what you will do with their responses?


Who is best equipped to report these tips out?

Who is already on this beat and doing great work?

Do you personally know journalists at other newsrooms who'd be eager to work with you?

Which media companies serve the audience you want to reach?

Which media companies have journalists most willing to participate?

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