J-Source named OpenFile‘s founder and CEO Wilf Dinnick Canadian newsperson of the year last Wednesday, based on his innovation in redefining the way citizens and journalists interact. Aside from offering “community-powered news,”

allows citizens to suggest a news story, whereupon the site assigns a reporter to cover said story. During the reporting process, journalists collaborate with OpenFile readers and allow them to participate in gathering information.

Dinnick attributes his success to the OpenFile team and their belief that the interactive news platform is the way of the future. As audiences start to access news differently and participatory journalism becomes more popular, it’s evident that the journalism industry is going through a shift in the way news is consumed, gathered, and released to the public.
Though some journalists are concerned with this shift, as explained by Alfred Hermida in Participatory Journalism, this isn’t the first time the field has seen a major alteration in how news is presented. Since its humble beginnings as broadsides in the 18th century to the transition from radio to television in the late 1940s, journalism has always been at the mercy of technological advances. OpenFile‘s concept may scare some writers, but above all it’s an example of how journalists must face new challenges in the digital age, continually adapting in order to engage their audience.Or as Dinnick said in an interview with J-Source, “We’re kind of doing this thing that … I’m not sure everyone believes is going to be the future, [but] we do.”

Lead image via FlickR user LSE Library.