I completely agree with this. Journatic’s problem is with execution, not concept. The core concept, however sad, is sound. It’s just not reasonable to pay reporters to simply gather data (school lunches, police blotter). I used to hope this sort of content could be fully automated (see: EveryBlock) but, as with the evolution of search from hand-built directories (Yahoo!) to algorithmic search (Google) to algorithm+human-powered social search (Bing, Google+), we learn that the algorithm needs help. The sources (local governments, usually) often can’t provide automated access to the data. Much of it remains – and will remain – human-powered for the foreseeable future. (Case in point: the company I work for deals with dozens of police and sheriff’s departments, each of which has their own format and process for providing blotter information and most of them are done by hand) Journalism has to evolve to become more efficient. The Mechanical Turk-ization of data-as-content is inevitable.
Journatic: The Mechanical Turk of journalism