Digging Distributed Journalism: Digg.com

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For those of you who haven't heard about Digg, it's a news site that relies on its readers to determine what the most important news stories are that day. Here's how it works. Every day, thousands of news hackers log onto Digg.com, where they post links to main stream news stories and blogs that they find interesting. They type out a short summary of why they like the story. That link and the description show up in a pool of news links on the Digg for Stories page, where other Diggers, and the entire Internet, can see those stories. Diggers who like those stories vote for the particular stories they want to promote by clicking a "Digg" button. After a story gets x number of votes (Diggs), it is promoted to the Digg home page, which is where the day's "headlines" appear. You have to be a registered Digger to vote for a story, but registration is easy and free.

In essence, Digg has turned its readers into news editors. Doc Searls has famously said that "open source is what happens when the demand side supplies itself." Digg has been applying that concept to the news since its birth day on December 5, 2004. As the two lead Diggers, Digg CEO Jay Adelson and Digg founder Kevin Rose, explain in this interview, by February, 2005, the mainstream media were already calling Kevin and Jay on the phone, wondering why they were getting spikes in traffic from Digg.com.

Obviously, big media called because they were sweating. Fueled by the open source community and indie media organizations and individual bloggers, Digg is "Disrupting the Fourth Estate" by doing the news cheaper, faster, and more narrowly tailored to the tastes of its individual readers. Kevin Rose started Digg with only about $1,000.00 USD in cash expenditures. Big media no longer is the sole owner of the printing presses. If Kevin can start Digg with only $1,000.00 and enable his millions of daily readers to become news editors, what does that mean for the future of big media?

It means the revolution WILL be televised. As Kevin and Jay explain in this interview, Digg is just getting started. It will branch out from its current emphasis on tech news, and will soon be weighing in the broader topics that are the bread and butter of big media, and they will be doing it with video, by aggregating links to video clips like they now do with links to mostly still image text websites. In this interview, Kevin and Jay talk in depth about Digg, it's history, why Digg works, and Digg's international aspirations, and where Digg is going in the future.

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