Sunday, October 10, 2010

5 Resources for Citzen Journalism Reporting Skills

I get tired of the mainstream media chomping down on bloggers and citizen journalists. It is the same of song; we destroyed traditional media. Anybody can post anything so nothing has any value. Yada, yada and ya-da.

Yet traditional and broadcast media has no problem swooping in and flat out stealing posts, videos and photos from social media sites by bloggers and citizen journalists. Without attribution. Without payment.

They hate us with a passion but have you noticed the number of newspaper, magazine and broadcast columnists that are now referred to as "bloggers?"

Have you noticed that they make no distinction between a person blogging and gathering news to keep their community informed vs. a person writing about their personal life and the life in their community?

Both are extremely valid, by the way. Neither one may called themselves as citizen journalists but at some point they are documenting information and their immediate environment.

Yeah, buddy. I got issues with hypocrisy. This is not to say that we in alternative media can skate and just toss any old thing up in the 'tubes. There are ways to do it better. Here are a few places to check out.

I'm sure I've mentioned NewsU before - there are free and paid resources to learn how to structure a news story, web video report or how to work with audio.

The Knight Center News Network has a freebie page of resources to learn about news gathering, social media and uncovering information. The multimedia sections is slim pickings but there is a nugget or two for the harvesting.
CitizenTube is a gateway for user generated news and political videos. Be aware that some of the videos are supported and sponsored by political organizations or activists groups. Check it out but apply critical thinking skills.

News rEvolution
seems to have been a master's project blog from Elon University in Georgia. There are a number of video and journalism tips in the blogs such as:
Not to say there isn't hooey in some of the posts. There are references that citizen journalism isn't legitimate. Yes, they drank the kool-aid. Ignore those posts. The blog seems to be at a stagnation point. Not sure if they will continue but it is worth a look around for useful stuff.

The PBS IdeaLab is another resource to check out - this is a working resource to figure out what tools and ideas will mess well with good writing and digital media. The goal is to reshape community news.

PBS MediaShift Facebook page chronicles the on-going changes that are happening in traditional and digital media. The MediaShift web site has in-depth information, and for me, an easier way to locate the content I am interested in seeing.

There use to be more resources but the funding dried up or folks moved on to other projects. I'm not going to link to them because, well, some of the resources they mention have old technology references or the information is no longer valid. It will require a sifting process to find the good stuff in the dried hay.

In any case, use what you got and tell the story your local paper or broadcast outlet refuses to acknowledge as being valid. You know you are doing fine when they come to buy you out or pinch your work.

Other Posts of Interest

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