Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Funday: Bow To The Professionals

Since today is the end of the week - a very long week from our perspective in the media - we're not diving deeply into a topic today. After a week filled with bombings, explosions, poisoned letters, shootings, unprofessional media conduct, and a penultimate example of what bootlickers our members of Congress have become, we think everyone could use a little break from heavy news.

There is some good news, though.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, the FBI announced they have two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. They released the only official photos and video of the suspects, and have asked the nation - and the world, really - to help them join in the hunt for the perpetrators.

Overnight, in the early hours of Friday morning, that hunt found the two bombing suspects, with some amazing & scary consequences, including the death of one of the two bombing suspects.

The kind of action the FBI took is known these days as "crowdsourcing" - a way to ask the thousands or even millions of people that a person, group, or business is connected with to lend a hand at completing a task.

Think of it like a digital age barn raising.

It's part of how the authorities were able to catch the individual responsible for the ricin-tainted letters to members of Congress and the White House this week. It's also how some online pricing tools these days, like GasBuddy.com work.

Of course, crowd sourcing can be used to promote something positive too. Think of how Nebraska Cornhusker football fans helped seven-year-old Jack Hoffman's one great moment become an internet sensation in the last two weeks. Not only has Jack appeared as the top subject on ESPN's Sportscenter, but the young Mr. Hoffman is also getting his own Husker football trading card this year.

Crowd sourcing has also been used as a tool to promote political causes, as both the supporters and opponents to the Keystone pipeline did at a raucous hearing in Grand Island on Thursday.

We won't deny that crowdsourcing, when not managed well, can end up in results like those The New York Post generated yesterday morning. That was when the Post once again proved how incompetent they are at journalism, when they published the pictures of two young men on their front page, and implied the two men were the FBI's suspects in the Boston bombings. Turns out they weren't.

The fact is, there have been a large number of examples this week of why some tasks should be left up to the professionals, while others can be handled well by amateurs.

To all those professionals this week, in fields like media and journalism, or law enforcement and emergency management, who made America look good, and helped guide the nation through a very rough week, we send our deepest, most respectful thanks and gratitude.

Enjoy your time off this weekend, everyone.

You've earned it after this week. We have too.