Posts Tagged ‘Ron Ross’

CJ Handbook Becomes a Resource in Malaysia

The training and motivation offered in the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” has gone international.

The handbook, believed to be the only book written for citizen journalists, was given to all of the participants at the second conference for citizen journalists in Malaysia Sept. 23-25.

“The citizen journalists were impressed with the book,” Maran Perianen, a trainer of citizen journalists, told handbook co-authors Ron Ross and Susan Cormier in an email.

“I also plan to give the book in my future training for their reference,” said Perianen, who also is the program director for an online news agency, Malaysiakini.

Malaysiakini, with the assistance of Washington, D.C.-basedInternationalCenterfor Journalists, has successfully conducted almost 70 workshops across Malaysian and has trained more than 350 citizen journalists, according to Perianen.

As the result of this training, Perianen said, the citizen journalists have successfully produced more than 1,500 news videos and almost 1,000 news articles.

“These stories have triggered significant reactions from many individuals, organizations and the government itself.”

I am pleased the citizen journalists will be using the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists’’ as a resource guide. I truly believe that the information, motivation and training they will receive from the handbook will help them in their future endeavors.

And, of course, Ron Ross and I both want to congratulate the Malaysian journalists for their work and wish them continued success.

You can visit the Malaysian website at http://www.cj.my/.

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

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01

10 2011

Journalists Must Have Integrity

In the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists,” co-author Ron Ross and I included a section on 15 core values that we believe should be upheld by professional and citizen journalists alike.

In light of the recently reported unethical practices involving Rupert Murdoch’s publications, it seems like a good time to discuss some of those core values.

Perhaps especially poignant is core value #15: Integrity. The following is how the handbook describes its importance.

“One gets a sense of the importance of integrity to the journalism profession by this powerful sentence found in the Preamble of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics: ‘Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility.’

“Unfortunately, journalism’s cornerstone of integrity has been crumbling in the last few years. The profession has suffered because of widely-reported and well-documented examples of journalistic bias, fraud, plagiarism and fabrication. The cornerstone needs to be restored.

“Citizen journalists must join the many serious professional journalists who still adhere to the ethics and standards that made journalism a valuable and honorable profession. It all begins with integrity.

“Integrity is the virtue of basing all of an individual’s words and deeds on an unswerving framework of personally-held, well-developed principles. This means one must know what is right and wrong, good and evil, helpful and hurtful, and then act accordingly, even at personal cost. Integrity could be called the virtue of all virtues.

“Journalistic integrity suffers when reporters allow their bias to dictate which story to cover and what facts to reveal or hide. Journalistic integrity suffers when stories are made up and presented as real, when phony evidence is offered as authentic and when made-up quotes are repeated as real. The biggest challenge is that once integrity is lost, it is difficult to re-establish.

“Integrity starts from within. Those who live and work with integrity will be empowered and respected by all. Those who act with integrity will bewilder those who are deceitful and enlighten those who are sincere; it’s a wonderful thing.”

Susan Cormier is the co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists,” which can be purchased as an e-book at http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/.

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22

07 2011

Not all Contributors are Citizen Journalists

Due to recent news reports and discussions among citizen journalists, it appears time to take a look at the different types of so-called citizen journalists.

At the National Association of Citizen Journalists, co-founder Ron Ross and I find there are different categories of writers with different goals and intentions.

In our “Handbook for Citizen Journalists,” Ross takes it a step further and describes accidental journalists, advocacy citizen journalists and citizen journalists.

“Just because someone uses a cell phone camera to photograph an incident and then uploads it to Flickr or Facebook, it does not make that person a citizen journalist,” Ross writes in Chapter 5.

Ross and I believe these accidental journalists are among those contributing to the news coverage of large news events, such as those happening in Libya and Japan. They also are sought out by local TV stations to help provide coverage for fires, extraordinary weather and some other news items.

According to our handbook: “Accidental journalists are people who are caught unexpectedly in the middle of an event and take photos or videos and upload them to either social networking websites such as Facebook, MySpace or Twitter, or news websites such as CNN’s iReport or Fox News’ uReport.’’

We appreciate their willingness to take the time and contribute eyewitness reports of the events that are surrounding them.

Then, there are the advocacy journalists. These folks have a bias and tend to report only the side of the story they want you to hear.

“Advocacy journalism is a genre of journalism that adopts a viewpoint for the sake of advocating on behalf of a social, political, business or religious purpose. It is journalism with an intentional and transparent bias,” Ross writes in our handbook.

Neither of these types of journalists is what we consider a true citizen journalist, or as one blogger wrote recently – an enthusiastic citizen journalist.

True – or enthusiastic – citizen journalists work hard at their craft. They are trained. They strive to tell all sides of the story in an accurate manner.

These are the citizens who would deserve to get paid for their efforts. Not the one-time citizen at the scene of an earthquake or the biased advocate who is trying to sway you to his or her side of the debate.

Susan Cormier is the head coach in charge of training at the National Association of Citizen Journalists (http://nacj.us/) and co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/).

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08

04 2011

Suggestions to Prepare for the Next Natural Disaster

Citizens have been busy reporting the horrific events in Japan in recent weeks.

As Ron Ross, co-founder of the National Association of Citizen Journalists, wrote in his blog recently, many of these reports can be found on CitizenTube, YouTube’s news and politics blog.

Ross also offered some tips so citizen journalists worldwide can prepare to cover similar news events, although it is hoped it won’t happen to you. You can read his blog at: http://ronrosstoday.com/?p=384.

Susan Cormier is the head coach in charge of training at the National Association of Citizen Journalists (http://nacj.us/) and co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (www.citizenjournalistnow.com).

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22

03 2011

A Suggestion for Citizen Journalism Website Operators

I’ve been wondering a lot recently about why it is so difficult for individuals to find a way to make citizen journalism websites profitable.

There is an obvious answer – at least from my perspective as a former newspaper editor and reporter.

Most of those who have a desire to start or run a citizen journalism website have a journalism background. Journalists aren’t trained in sales. But they are trained to be unbiased in their reporting.

So, how can you be unbiased in your reporting when you are writing a news article about one of the major advertisers on your website?

In the “professional” news business, there usually are two different departments – one that handles the news and one that handles the sales.

In a perfect world, individuals in these two departments should not come into contact with one another. So the news writer never takes into account how much advertising one business buys. And the advertising salesman has no idea if a business is in the news.

But with a citizen journalism website, often one person handles both the writing and sales. And that person usually has a news background. It’s not an easy transition to wear both hats – reporting and writing, and sales.

My solution is as old as the advertising department in most newspaper offices around the world: Commission sales. Find someone equally passionate about your cause and hire them on a commission basis.

Surely in these days of record unemployment, someone will step up to the plate to serve as the advertising department so the original owner/operator of the website can focus on reporting and writing the news, sports and features in his/her community.

If you’d like to read about someone who actually did marketing and is making money from his website, read the recent blog written by Ron Ross, co-founder of the National Association of Citizen Journalists, at http://ronrosstoday.com/?p=374.

Susan Cormier is the head coach in charge of training at the National Association of Citizen Journalists (http://nacj.us/) and co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/).

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03

03 2011

Gift Ideas for Citizen Journalists

I thought I’d suggest a couple of last-minute gift ideas for those citizen journalists or want-to-be reporters that you know. These books offer great information and a historical perspective on the citizen journalism movement:

“Couch Potatoes Sprout: The Rise of Online Community Journalism” was written by Jack Driscoll and can be found at
http://www.amazon.com/Couch-Potatoes-Sprout-Community-Journalism/dp/1436371597.

“Handbook for Citizen Journalists” was written by Ron Ross and Susan Carson Cormier and can be purchased as an e-book at http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/.

“We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People” was written by Dan Gillmor and can be bought at http://www.amazon.com/We-Media-Grassroots-Journalism-People/dp/0596102275/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1292532301&sr=8-1.

Happy holidays!

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17

12 2010