Behind the times as usual, I have been catching up with the concept of crowdsourcing.

The phrase was coined by Jeff Howe. I’m a contributing editor to Wired Magazine in an article published earlier this year. It’s picked up an amazing amount of momentum in a short space of time. As Howe comments on his crowdsourcing blog

A google search now produces 182,000 returns.The volume of mentions is less significant than the nature of those mentions: “crowdsourcing” now has its own Wikipedia entry, and seems to have been adopted by Valleywag as a euphemism for click-slavery.

The term has found extra impetus for Howe when, via Jeff Jarvis’ buzz machine, a newspaper editor let slip details of what would eventually shake out as Gannets new editorial direction.

Dennis Ryerson, the editor-in-chief of the Indianapolis Star, wrote an editor’s note announcing a change in the paper’s policy. Crowdsourcing, he wrote, is a term with which his readers may be unfamiliar. His newsroom wasn’t too familiar with it either. Nevertheless, “it’s a concept we will be using more and more as we work harder to involve our readers in the preparation of our news reports, in print and online.”

Lots of interesting questions raised and more to be answered but in an industry hungry for any term other than citizen journalism I think Jeff may find that, in the newspaper industry, this meme has some real legs.