Barbarian Group, CNN Debut ‘Open Stories’ at SXSW

By Bob Marshall 

For this year’s SXSW festival, CNN debuted a new platform for journalism to combat the sort of technological hearsay that festers in the world of social media.  The way CNN sees it, the best way to keep your website relevant amongst the  ever-changing #sxsw Twitter feed is to make its into its own sort of social media outlet.

In collaboration with the Barbarian Group (which of course created the T-shirt application a few years back), the cable news network is launching “Open Stories,” with SXSWi appropriately enough as its first topic for reportage. By utilizing its 750,000 active “reporters worldwide,” CNN is putting their stories in the hands of the public, creating a living, breathing story that changes as the news comes in. The first Open Story is posted to CNN’s site currently, and it features maps, pictures and real-time updates as the hoopla is Austin continues for the next week.

The site’s flexibility allows for personal video updates and commentary, live CNN video across devices and smart content playlists that users can use to switch between media devices. Right now, it’s obviously a work in progress, but we suspect anyone with the CNN mobile app and smartphone who has a B.A. is journalism might find the opportunity too sweet to pass up. Maybe if it’s accurate enough, CNN will just cut costs and get rid of all of their actual reporters. After all, CNN: The Blog might reach that Generation Y consumer where cable TV doesn’t.