Citizen Journalism: A Primer

Jason Gillikin recently posted an article Citizen Journalism: A Primer in OpenSalon. You can also find this article in his business blog ( In this article, he proposed thirty-four suggestions to help guide aspiring citizen journalists better understand the craft and practices of a the media world.

Let me introduce some items of Jason’s Journalism Primer here. Any other observation to add on the list?

  • A writer’s best chance at distinguishing himself and making a genuine difference is to become a beat reporter.
  • Journalism is about access – to people, to data, to authority.
  • Be completely honest.
  • Remember the traditional news values: Timeliness, currency, weirdness, conflict, proximity, personality, and relevance.
  • Know and honor the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists.
  • Understand the state of media law with regard to libel, public access and fair reportage.
  • Scrupulously honor “off the record” comments, but be wary of going OTR in general.
  • A good journalist will go to jail before giving up a source.
  • The cardinal rule of fact – it it’s not documented, then it didn’t happen.
  • The cardinal rule of fact-checking – It in doubt, leave it out.
  • Consider the trustworthiness of sources and the origination of facts and statistics.
  • Use the right story template.
  • Opinion belongs in by-lined columns.
  • Know the AP Stylebook and keep it holy.

Citizen Journalism: A Primer (OpenSalon)

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10 2010

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