Citizen Journalists: Write Those Feature Stories

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/).

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About The Author

NACJ trainer

Susan Carson Cormier is a co-founder of the National Association of Citizen Journalists and co-author of the "Handbook for Citizen Journalists." As the head coach at the NACJ, Cormier is in charge of training citizen journalists the basics in how to report and write news, sports and feature stories.

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Author his web sitehttp://www.nacj.us

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12 2010

4 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Sometimes there is downtime in the hyperlocal scene. I've written 12

    articles for the local cz'j'ism site, but there were bought by another company

    after being down for two or three weeks. During that time, the wonderful

    editor got a promotion within the company that used to own our local cz'j'ism

    site. Now I haven't heard about my article from the new editor, waaah!

    I wrote a few article about my city and whatnotfor Dallas in a hyperlocal

    czj'ism site, but at 100 miles away, we're too far away to attract attention

    there, waaah.

    I've had three articles published with OmN, hurrah!

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  2. 2

    KLTV, Channel 7 (Tyler, TX) has a new section on their website called, "KLTV in your community." This hyperlocal approach was started by Elizabeth Thomas and has 15 communities with Tyler subdivided into four quadrants. I've published two articles for Channel 7 so far; wish me luck!

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  3. JD Meyer #
    3

    Wixpert, a new Wikipedia style dictionary for sciences, was so supportive of my contributions for "evolution," that they urged me to get a blog and put Google Adsense on it, so I can make money! Catch me at HubPages under my alias "bohemiotx." I love Creative Class type urban development research among other things (Richard Florida–Univ. of Toronto).

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    • 4

      Howdy fellow Koreanophiles,
      I've published three blogs at hubpages @ http://hubpages.com/hub/bohemiotx After the cover page where I listed my range of topics, I wrote about military helicopters for use in hauling food during disasters. Then I wrote about the three factors of community attachment, according to Dr. Florida, and applied them to my city's downtown. Up to 7 at the KLTV site.
      Here's an idea: Could publicizing lesser known websites be considered a form of citizen journalism? In my case, it was the US Dept of Defense for that military helicopter article. Let's have some feedback!

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