Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Michele H. Jackson

Second Advisor

Timothy Kuhn

Third Advisor

Paul Voakes

Fourth Advisor

Kathleen Ryan

Fifth Advisor

Bryan Taylor


The borderline between professionals and crowds of amateurs is blurring with crowdsourcing. In 2006, Howe observed the phenomenon of professionals outsourcing work to crowds of amateurs online. In the time since that observation, researchers have enthusiastically researched crowdsourcing as outsourcing. However, the wide adoption and increased interactivity offered by social media has further blurred this borderline for professionals and amateurs. This qualitative study used in-depth interviews with professional journalists to explore their accounts of the process of enlisting and using their audience to produce news reports. This data set provided a perspective to generate a more comprehensive theory of crowdsourcing and a better understanding of this blurring borderline that embraces the complexity of this communication phenomenon. This research study examined crowdsourcing in social media and discovered an important alternative view of crowdsourcing as organizing.