In a recent discussion about the sustainability of citizen journalism, it was mentioned that many citizen journalists might not have the stamina or desire to cover the hard news of their town.
Citizen journalists often are unable to spend four hours at a city council, planning & zoning or school board meeting. Not only don’t they have the time, they often don’t get paid for their efforts.
Some of us in the discussion agree that it might be more fun – and less of a time-consuming headache – for citizen journalists to write feature stories instead. In fact, some aspiring writers might be more willing to enter into the citizen journalism world if they didn’t have to deal with government and bureaucracies.
I can understand that. As a practicing citizen journalist and former newspaper reporter, I haven’t had the desire to attend a planning commission or city council meeting. But I have had a lot of fun writing feature stories about people in my communities.
Feature stories can be much more fun than news stories. And there are hundreds of stories out there, including a couple celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary, a teenager who excels in a certain sport or musical endeavor, or a volunteer at a local animal shelter or food bank.
So to those who are considering entering the world of citizen journalism, go for it! Write a feature story or two and see how much fun it can be.
Susan Cormier is the head coach in charge of training at the National Association of Citizen Journalists (http://www.nacj.us/) and co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/).