I just got around to reading this article by Dave Winer from a couple days ago concerning what an initial step toward an open newsroom would look like. Essentially, Dave’s idea is to get the experts on a topic to communicate directly to the readers through the newspaper. He writes:
Now, to be clear — I’m not talking about recruiting idiots or people whose opinions are (in your opinion) worthless. I’m talking about respected experts, the kinds of people your reporters call to get a perspective on the news the people they quote. Instead of having them talk to the readers through the reporter, I want them to go directly. Their writing should be as readable as the reporters’ so I would choose experts who express themselves well.
Seems to make a lot of sense to me, and if these experts are producing content that is as good as the reporters, then it somewhat lessens the need for droves of reporters to pull quotes from the experts. I don’t see “expert reporting” as replacing all journalists at a paper, but I definitely see it as an important first step toward lessening the huge overhead that many papers operate under.