Archive for June, 2011

New Citizen Journalist Resource in London

N16 reports that actor Noel Clarke is supporting “London 360,” a citizen journalism initiative aimed to attract young journalists to give them the media skills and the voice that they need. This is the first of many hubs that will be placed around the UK as outlet for citizen journalism. If you are a young Londoner, you can contact London 360′s news editor Jasmine Dotiwala at jasmine@mediatrust.org.

Aged 18 to 25? Interested in becoming a citizen journalist? (N16)

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20

06 2011

Citizens Help Review Palin Emails

The recent release of Sarah Palin’s boatload of emails gave us a new glimpse into the way citizens can contribute to the news process.

Faced with boxes of documents and a limited number of staff and hours on June 10, some major news outlets – like The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times - decided to scan and post the emails online without first reviewing most of them. Once posted, these mainstream media outlets welcomed the public’s help in scrutinizing and reviewing the thousands of emails.

“The readers are augmenting the work of our journalists, not taking their place,” Jim Roberts, an assistant managing editor with The New York Times, reportedly wrote in an email. “The readers are just an extra, and valuable, resource.”

As Steve Doig, an Arizona State University journalism professor, told The Arizona Daily Star: “You don’t have to be a professional reporter to be able to recognize statements that might be newsworthy…. Having lots and lots of eyeballs looking through it – whether it’s a professional reporter or just somebody who’s looking for their own interest or amusement – you can more quickly find something newsworthy.”

While this isn’t exactly how I envisioned citizens helping in the news process, I’m guessing all those extra eyes and brains can be helpful when you’re dealing with an overabundance of documents.

I just wish citizens would get as excited about helping the media cover news in their cities and towns as they do about looking at old emails of big-name politicians.

Susan Cormier is the co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/).

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18

06 2011

Low Traffic for Online News?

The Federal Communications Commission released a report by George Washington University professor Matthew Hindman that surprisingly few people check local news online. The numbers are sobering, but Joshua Benton at Nieman Journalism Lab puts it into perspective.

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17

06 2011

Non-profits and Citizen Journalism

Social media site Mashable has a post about the rise of citizen journalism and the non-profits who are playing midwife. This is not only in funding outfits. Organizations like Small World News go out and train citizen journalists in oppressed regions like Lybia to help them get critical information out to the public.

Read more here.

How Non-Profit Organizations Are Bolstering Citizen Media Around the World (Mashable)

 

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16

06 2011

Citizen Journalism Round-up 06/15

Here are some stories picked up from citizen journalists lately.

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15

06 2011

CJ Updates on Syria

Here are some on-the-ground reports by citizen journalists in and around Syria.

  • Gamut News features a CJ video of soldiers firing on protestors
  • The Christian Science Monitor features a CJ image of protests
  • International rights and advocacy group Avaaz is showing video interviews of defectors from Syria’s security forces it claims were filmed by citizen journalists (Al Jazeera)
  • An article from Business Insider on how the only way to get any news from Syria is through citizen journalists
  • Also another reminder to not pounce onto every story, an American man created a hoax by pretending to be a gay Syrian-American woman, saying she was abducted. Lots of traditional journalists reported that as fact and may have caused an international incident.
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14

06 2011

Murdered Citizen Journalist’s Baby is Born

The Washington Post’s BlogPost” reports that Mohammed “Mo” Nabbous’s baby was born. Nabbous was killed by sniper fire in Lybia while covering a story on wounded children. His wife posted a tribute video to her late husband and their new child.

YouTube Preview Image

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13

06 2011

Tips on Proper Word Use

I don’t mean to nitpick, but here are a couple of reminders on how to use words that are often used improperly.

Over, more than - Many citizen journalists use the word ‘over’ when writing about numbers, such as: “over 200 people were at the event” or “she makes over $50,000 a year.”

According to The Associated Press Stylebook, the words ‘more than’ are preferred when dealing with numbers, so it should be: “more than 200 people were at the event” and “she makes more than $50,000 a year.”

The word ‘over’ should be used to refer to spatial relationships. For example, “the ball was thrown over the boy’s head.”

Burglary, robbery - For news people, there is a huge difference between a burglary and a robbery. A burglary involves entering a building and remaining there with the intent to commit a crime. A robbery involves the use of violence or threat while committing a theft or stealing.

Demolish, destroy – Both words mean something is gone completely and for good. It would be inaccurate to say the building was partially destroyed and it would be redundant to say it was totally destroyed.

Below are examples of words that get misused when people are in a hurry. Slow down when you are writing. Think about what you are trying to say and whether you used the correct word.

Cite, site, sight – Cite means to summon someone to appear in a court of law, or to refer to or quote a resource or example. He cited The AP Stylebook in defending his use of more than. Site is a location. Sight is the act of seeing or a remarkable view.

There, their – There is a place. Their is a possessive. The house is located there, but it is their home.

Susan Cormier is the co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/).

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12

06 2011

Inspiring Egyptian Citizen Journalist

Sondos Shabayek (from The Hindu Business Line)

The Hindu Business Line has a profile of 25-year-old Sondos Shabayek, who started out as a citizen journalist during the Egypt uprising and is now editor-in-chief of an Arabic youth magazine. The article is a good read on the changing atmosphere for women and journalism in Egypt.

Young woman’s report on Egypt

 

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10

06 2011

Curating Citizen and Community News Stories

Journalists today are being urged to add context and curate news events for their viewer/users. As OMNI’s Joe McPherson says, just start with “…an article or video from a citizen journalism source and talk about it.” For lots of local news, this kind of simple reporting works well.

You can find a newsworthy post or photo or video, and add a bit of background information, some details, and explain the local connection or angle to the story, and it works for your audience.

There are stories, even local stories, that end up generating streams of comments and SMS-style updates, related photos, or videos but as they are posted in real time, they don’t create a structured narrative.

Reporters today need to learn how to verify, source, and analyze social information streams to provide context. Curating is adding a structure or frame to this social stream, reducing redundancy or echo in the messages, and writi

ng what you know best, and just  linking  to the rest.

I found a small but important example of this new kind of reporting on one of Chicago’s Everyblock community sections. From the initial question about an incident of  indecent exposure– a “flasher” –near an elementary school, a discussion ensures about the flasher and what can be done. Then a community reporter,  tipped to the stream by his publisher, uses the community site to get in contact with the victim. The reporter followed up on the story, which ended with the apprehension and arrest of the flasher. The reporter published the story in print, but then posted it back on the community site.

Most of the interesting reading, from the comments to the timeline, to the reporter’s version of the story, happened online as part of Everyblock’s community section for Bowmanville/Ravenswood, or via Twitter. If I tried to copy/paste and link them here, it would have been a big job. Instead, I used a new tool, storify.com, that let’s a reporter easily integrate social media from multiple social networks into a storyline, with drag and drop. It preserves all attribution and metadata of each element, and is set up for easy sharing when your story is finished.

You can read and view how the social media are formatted automatically with the metadata and links for yourself. You will be able to view the discussion as it happened. What do you think of this method of curating a story? Want to talk about it? Leave a comment.

The Future of News is Social, Local, and Gets a Flasher off the Streets – storify.com.

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08

06 2011