Posts Tagged ‘citizen journalism’

Journalists exposed for their biased coverage of England riots

News outlets need to be held to account for their coverage of the headline-hitting English riots, a new report has argued.

Media and the Riots: A Call for Action, published on the first anniversary of the Tottenham, north London, riot which took place last August, is the first report to examine the impact of the mainstream print and broadcast media’s reporting on the communities most affected.

The report, written by University of Leicester sociologist Dr Leah Bassel, reflects the views of those people who attended the Media and the Riots conference held by the Citizen Journalism Educational Trust and The-Latest.com in November.

Read more about the Media and the Riots – A Call For Action report on The-Latest.Com: http://www.the-latest.com/media-exposed-its-biased-coverage-english-riots

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Writers Wanted for $1,000 Historical Essay Contest

Here’s a fun way to practice your citizen journalism skills: Enter the essay contest sponsored by the Lakewood (Colo.) Historical Society.

Not only will it be a great way to use your reporting and writing skills, you also might win some of the $1,000 in prize money.

Even though the contest requests entries about Lakewood’s history, organizers say you don’t have to live in the Lakewood area to enter. You could live in Timbuktu. They don’t care. They just want your entries.

So do some research on the Internet, pick up the phone and make some calls, and write an essay about the history of Lakewood, Colo.

Contest organizers even provide a list of names to get you started, including Schnell Centennial Farms, Lakewood Brick Co., Hart’s Corner, White Fence Farm and Lakewood’s Waterways.

You will have to submit one added extra to your entry of 3,000 words or less: Endnotes, footnotes credits and/or bibliography are required.

But what have you got to lose? And you could win the $300 and $200 first and second prize awards given in each of the youth and adult categories.

For more information, visit www.historiclakewood.org or call 303.233.3050. The deadline for entries is May 15, 2012.

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

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31

12 2011

The Big Picture Street Photographer of the Year winners

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We’re proud to announce the result of our wonderful competition that attracted thousands of participants from around the world. Thanks to The-Latest.Com, the Citizen Journalism Educational Trust, Time Out and Olympus.

It is the first time ever that the title “Street Photographer of the Year” has been awarded in the UK to a citizen journalist using a mobile phone. The winner is young tech whizz Kheoh Yee Wei, who lives in Leeds. His prize, on top of the street photographer title, is the state of the art Olympus LS-20M camcorder. Kheoh’s winning photo is pictured, above.

One of the judges, Eamonn McCabe, the renowned and award-winning press photographer, said: “The quality of entrants was surprisingly so good it was really hard to choose a winner. Kheoh’s entry stood out as a result of the wonderful characters he cleverly captured with his mobile phone.

Read more about the competition winners and view their photos on The-Latest.Com: http://www.the-latest.com/cjet-photography-winners.

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03

12 2011

One Man’s View of Citizen Journalism

Tom Grubisich’s blog titled “How is Citizen Journalism Playing Out Today?” takes a look at a variety of news outlets and their use or non-use of citizen journalists.

Comments ranged from “we generate over 65 percent of our content from volunteers” to “you can’t depend on citizen journalists.”

In the end, Grubisich concludes that “citizen journalism is in a new place — with less emphasis on ‘citizen’ and more on ‘journalism’.’’

Read the entire blog and see the various opinions at: http://streetfightmag.com/2011/10/27/how-is-citizen-journalism-playing-out-today/.

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

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03

11 2011

New School Year Creates Openings for Citizen Journalists

The beginning of the new school year creates citizen journalism opportunities for students and parents alike.

Students may want to write about their school’s clubs, happenings and sports events. Parents also may want to cover their children’s sporting events – competitions that might not otherwise be covered by the local media.

Students and parents should strive to be as objective as possible as they can in reporting and writing about these events. For example, a mother covering her son’s football game should set aside her bias of her son’s abilities so she can provide a fair and accurate report of each competition.

Those who can provide unbiased reporting may also want to contact their local media outlet to see if their reporting and writing services can be put to good use. Many local broadcast and print news operations gladly accept the services of citizen journalists especially if they are reliable, are able to write like trained journalists and can meet deadlines.

If you are interested, you should call the newsroom of your local media outlet. Tell the person who answers the phone that you would like to provide coverage of specific local school events and ask who you should talk to. Ask to speak to the appropriate person and request an interview.

Before you go in for your interview, study the ways the media outlet writes about the events or sports you want to cover for it. Then, prepare some writing samples to take to your interview.

For those who may want to brush up on skills before the interview, the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” includes several skills chapters about writing news, feature and sports stories. E-copies can be purchased at http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/.

Susan Cormier is co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists“.

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03

09 2011

Mobile Phones are a Powerful Tool for Citizen Media

Information is a powerful commodity for human rights defenders. Receiving and sharing information is at the heart of human rights work. Modern technology, such as the mobile phone, and the global distribution of the internet, provides new opportunities for citizens to actively participate in journalism. The mobile phone is arguably the most accessible form of information communication technology and a popular tool for receiving and sharing information.

via New Tactics | Using Mobile Phones for Citizen Media.

From “What is citizen journalism?” to “How do you design citizen media?” plus a growing list of resources that you can use and add to are available starting July 27 from The New Tactics in Human Rights site and its
online dialogue.

Working in citizen media can mean that you are isolated from  people doing the same kind of work. Whether you are thinking of getting started as a citizen journalist or if you’ve been working with citizen media, you can make use of the site.

This site will let you connect with a group of “featured resource practitioners” from all over the world. Ask questions, read about what they’ve been doing. You can ask questions, and offer to be featured resource practitioner yourself.

As far as what is citizen journalism, I liked what Amy O’Donnell from FrontlineSMS contributed to the online dialogue,

“I am coming to understand citizen media to begin when individuals feel compelled to share or report information which might not otherwise enter the public domain and use the media as a tool so that communities are enabled to contribute and participate in discussions which affect them.”

There’s lots to this site, and I’m going to check it out and add my views, so see you online.

 

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29

07 2011

No, not a superinjunction but a Big competition

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New charity the Citizen Journalism Educational Trust (CJET), which is supported by The-Latest.Com, has launched with its Big Picture street photography competition.

This exciting event has won backing from Time Out magazine, Olympus, who have donated a prize worth almost £300. Guardian News & Media donated an iconic image, taken by a citizen photographer, of Ian Tomlinson, the innocent bystander killed by a police officer at the G20 protest of 2009.

The competition offers entrants from the UK and abroad the opportunity to win the brand new Olympus LS-20M pocket camcorder and the title of “CJET Street Photographer of the Year” by using their mobile phone to take a winning picture.

Judges are award-winning photographer Eamonn McCabe, former Picture Editor of The Guardian, renowned publisher Dr Margaret Busby, a CJET Trustee, Martin Shaw, chair of the Trustees, Allyce Hibbert, Picture Editor of Time Out and Brian Usher, Picture Editor of The-Latest.Com.

Martin Shaw said: “CJET recognises that ordinary citizens not only consume news but make it too. Think of the image of innocent bystander Ian Tomlinson who was unlawfully killed at the G20 protest, the 7/7 terrorist attack and Asian tsunami photographs that have come from camera phones. We are doing the Big Picture competition to celebrate this important new citizen journalism.”

CJET is a UK charity that inspires and encourages the personal development of disadvantaged young adults through journalism, writing, literacy, photography and video. It produces educational material that includes college standard online out-reach materials and tutorials for contributors interested in a career in journalism, photography or broadcasting.

It also aims to assist the public to find a better connection with the sometimes mystifying world of media, journalism and current affairs that is so influential in all our lives.

The competition runs from June 1 2011 to August 31 2011 and the winner notified on October 3 2011. Full details can be viewed here:http://www.the-latest.com/photographer-year-competition.

Please send the link to the competition page to all your contacts. We look forward to receiving your photos.

 

 

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UK citizen journalism site exposes hypocrisy of British media over Libya bombings

EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece originally appeared in The-Latest.com and has been republished here with permission.

Marc Wadsworth – Editor at The-Latest.com

Cruise missile image given by US military to lap dog media

Cruise missile image given by US military to lap dog media

Not a single commentator in the British media I have seen today has stated the obvious – that the majority of the world is against the West’s unprovoked bombing of Libya.

Opposed to the massive cruise missiles raining down on Colonel Muammar Gadaffi’s cities are the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China as well the 53 nation-strong African Union. Already, according to the Libyan government, more than 50 people the UN-backed aggression were supposed to be protecting have been killed.

The hypocrisy of the West’s war mongering leaders is only matched by their lap dog propagandists in big media. Bankrupt international politics has been used as a fig leaf. The rigged vote on the United Nation’s “Security Council” went 10-0 in favour of imposing a “no fly zone” over Libyan air space enforced by “all necessary measures to protect civilians”.

(The UN has never done this to protect defenceless Palestinian civilians from Israeli bombardment, on many occasions, because the Americans have always vetoed such a vote.)

Five mighty countries abstained over Libya: China, Russia – two of the five permanent members – India, Brazil and Germany. The UN vote proved that the New York-based world body is broken. Why? It demonstrated how the West, that dominates the all-powerful Security Council, cajole, bully and bribe to get the outcomes they want. Yemen were once punished by the US which withdrew millions of dollars of aid from the impoverished country when it dared to vote against it at the UN.

India, Brazil, Japan or an African nation are glaringly absent among the five  permanent members of the Security Council. And the much more representative General Assembly, that includes all the nations of the world, is ignored politically and in the big media.

What is more, the Arab League that backed the no fly zone ahead of the crucial UN vote, at the behest of US President Barack Obama and the UK’s David Cameron, is packed with the very unelected royals and despots popular uprisings by the people, supposedly backed by the West, oppose. The Arab League sell-outs are dependent on the West to stay in power. And they reward their masters in Washington, London and Paris with oil and billion pound purchases, mainly of hi-tech arms.

Added to this, the slaughter by these Arab dictators of pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain and Yemen has not triggered a Western pushed UN resolution nor military intervention precisely because “they are our allies”.

Like Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who was armed to the teeth by the West in an attempt to defeat Iran and then overthrown and executed, Muammar Gaddafi has now be turned on by his former Western friends. Feisty Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has bluntly denounced the West’s attack on Libya as “a grab for oil by the imperialists”. But you will not see his comment quoted in big media.

The Goebbels machine of Fleet Street has softened up public opinion by portraying Gaddafi as a “Mad Dog” who kills his own people. Is not that what the Western-armed psychopath Suharto did in Indonesia? Gaddafi has been demonised like Saddam Hussein and Robert Mugabe to paralyse rational public debate about a country’s sovereignty and right not to be attacked by foreign powers. And now the British military are in action we are told we must patriotically back them, despite any misgivings.

If concerns were to be genuinely overridden by an international desire to protect civilian populations then why did the West not intervene in Rwanda in 1994 when almost a million people were butchered? Or in Southern Sudan’s Darfur more recently?

The silent majority in the world must loudly protest at the murderous aggression in our name against Libya – a country that has not attacked us – otherwise who will be next? Hugo Chavez, Robert Mugabe, Evo Morales and Daniel Ortega are democratically-elected leaders the US wants rid of because they refuse to fall into line. So, if the dangerous precedent of Libya is allowed then why not oil-rich Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Bolivia or Nicaragua?

And now British military are in action we are told we must patriotically back them, despite any misgivings.
If concerns were to be genuinely overridden by an international desire to protect civilian populations then why did the West not intervene in Rwanda in 1994 when almost a million people were killed? Or in Southern Sudan’s Darfur more recently?
The silent majority in the world must loudly protest at the murderous aggression in our name against Libya – a country that has not attacked us – otherwise who will be next? Hugo Chavez, Robert Mugabe, Evo Morales and Daniel Ortega, are democratically-elected leaders the US wants rid of because they refuse to fall in line. So, if the dangerous precedent of Libya is allowed then why not oil-rich Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Bolivia or Nicaragua?

* Gaddafi ally Louis Farrakhan, leader of America’s Nation of Islam that supported Barrack Obama’s campaign to become US president, has spoken powerfully about his opposition to the military attack on Libya.

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21

03 2011

How to get stories as a citizen journalist

Research for news or feature stories is very different to academic study. Time limits or  ’deadlines’ are usually more critical and the depth of information required is much less. In journalism, research will be for background information and for the purposes of finding people you can interview for expert comment or analysis. These are called  ’sources’. In news journalism, a single source is often used in an article but feature writers use several sources.

Most organisations have designated employees who deal with media enquiries. They are usually called a press officer and work in the press office. But they may be a marketing person or even staff at a public relations company. The press office will supply you with news releases, brochures and leaflets, known as  ’hand-out’ material. Press officers are usually helpful, all too aware that today’s journalism student or writing enthusiast may be tomorrow’s Fleet Street staffer. They will answer your questions and may assist you to arrange an interview with a source which, in television, is called unflatteringly a  ’talking head’. Adding your contact details to a press officer’s mailing list can result in invitations to potentially valuable sources of stories like product launches and news conferences. Potential interviewees can be found using publications including:

The Directory of British Associations, available in most reference libraries.

The Hollis Press and Public Relations Annual

The Writers and Artists Yearbook

The Guardian Media Guide which lists a range of media contacts and the names, telephone numbers and websites for local councils, government departments, hospitals, police services, courts, prisons, museums, theatres and embassies.

A good reference library will have a variety of specialist directories as well CD-ROMS containing back issues of newspapers and journals. It is worthwhile joining more than one library. London has a number of these, for instance Westminster Reference Library, the British Library and the Royal Institute for International Affairs, which researchers can use by prior appointment.

The internet is now an easy and standard source for research. There are a number of major search engines on the net and a few like Ask Jeeves at askjeeves.co.uk and Answers.com are particularly user-friendly because you can enter a question. All the major newspapers have searchable archives, for example guardian.co.uk. Though the internet is a great resource, for accuracy, be careful to use authoritative sites and double check facts when not doing this. For example, though the online encyclopaedic resource wikipedia.org is a boon, remember that it is written by volunteers who are not necessarily experts (anybody who wants to contribute can) and therefore information on it needs to be cross-referenced with other sources.

It is not uncommon for people who are new to journalism to spend an inordinate amount of effort on research and then leave little time for the writing of an article. The important consideration in the first stage of constructing your piece is the topicality of the story, its relevance to a target audience and interesting angle. This will provide the necessary focus for your research, saving precious time and labour. The UK’s citizen journalism website The-Latest.com is rich with resources for would-be journalists.

The following should give you some story ideas.

Updates

What was really behind President George W. Bush’s ‘war on terror’, in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere and why did Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and other leaders support it?

What’ was the true casualty total after a ‘terrorist bombing’? Who was really behind these earth-shattering events?

What’s the latest on official probes like the investigations into the controversial death of Princess Diana?

What’s happening in a court case, crime or other investigation you’re interested in, but suddenly the news media stops reporting or doesn’t cover at all?

You can submit Freedom of Information Act inquiries to public bodies for you and get important questions answered. See: http://www.the-latest.com/freedom-of-information-advice

Travel and Health

In today’s uncertain world, to what places is it safe to travel? And, with the advent of new pandemics like bird flu, what’s the latest health advice? Tell us about your transport experiences or treatment at the hands of the health service or other official bodies. Be a whistle-blower on information being kept secret by the powers-that-be when the public have the right to know.

Where are they now?

Tell is what’s happened to a favourite soap star no longer in the show? A politician, pop star, sports personality, actor or model – where are they now?

New Products

Write a sneak preview of the latest products like mobile phones, electrical and other goods as a consumer.

Copyright  © 2008 The-Latest.com

Republished with permission.



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Put People in Your Feature Stories

A couple of my recent blogs have focused on feature writing as a great way for average citizens to jump in and explore the world of citizen journalism or user-generated content.

I’ve suggested that features are an easier way for newcomers to get started than hard news, and I’ve offered a few helpful hints along the way.

Today, I’m presenting two examples of features I have written to generate interest in two community events. In both of these stories, the news peg was the upcoming event. But rather than writing a news brief that only states the time, location and date, I generated interested by focusing on an individual who would be at the event.

One feature was designed to inform folks about a travel photography class. For that piece, I wrote about the photographer who was giving the class, his background and his travels. That way, interested people would know the instructor’s credentials and want to sign up for the class.

The other article featured an artist who turned insects and butterflies into magnificent pieces of art. This was an easy one. My obvious first question was: Why would someone want to play with insects and bugs for a living?

This incredibly creative woman was just one of the artists who would be at an upcoming show. So again, the news angle was the show.

Both of these features generated a significant amount of interest in the events. The photography class was filled to capacity and the insect artist’s booth saw incredible traffic during the two-day art show.

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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04

02 2011