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Ron Ross

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Curiosity is the lifeblood of a citizen journalist Lots of folks ask us, “What makes a good citizen journalist?” The short answer is passion. But a good citizen journalist needs more than just passion. Six proficiencies that a good citizen journalist needs to develop are: Curiosity. Curiosity is the lifeblood of a good citizen journalist. It’s what keeps the mind alert and the stories coming. The mother of a childhood friend of mine once said, “All you boys do is go around turning over rocks to see what’s beneath them.” She was talking about our insatiable curiosity. A good citizen journalist always turns over rocks, opens closed doors, peeks behind the curtains and wonders, “What is all the commotion about?” Situational awareness. If you have this quality, it means that at all times you are aware of what is happening around you. Lots of people don’t pay any attent... (more)

Citizen Journalists are Passionate about Freedom of the Press

Citizen Journalist on Ulitzer The American Revolution produced many notable newspapermen who wrote passionately in support of independence and who injected into their writings the idea of a free press. Many of their writings helped develop the press freedoms that were written into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That is why the United States has been the world leader for press freedom for well over 200 years. The US press earned the title of the “Fourth Estate” because it positioned itself as a watchdog over the government. This privileged press status is unique to the US a... (more)

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Citizen Journalist?

Citizen Journalism on Ulitzer If you’re seeking wealth and fame, journalism might not be your best choice. No one enters the field to get rich, and only a few ever become famous. An entry-level journalist will barely earn enough to survive if a job is even available in today’s shrinking journalism job market. Even experienced beat reporters don’t live in the rich part of town. The only people receiving truly handsome wages in the news media today are celebrity journalists seen on network and cable television news stations. Fame is also elusive for most journalists. Only a few becom... (more)

Are You a Pugnacious or Assertive Journalist?

There is more than one way to interview someone for a news story. Some journalists take the role of an unfriendly, disbelieving inquirer who wants to catch the interviewee in some moment of confusion or expose him/her as a hypocrite, ignoramus or buffoon. I refer to this as “gotcha” journalism. Some journalists take the role of a supportive, affable colleague so they don’t ask any tough questions that might embarrass the interviewee. This often called throwing softballs, but I call it “brownnose” journalism. The really good journalists take the role of an objective, neutral inte... (more)

Citizen Journalism Websites You Might Want to Imitate

Here are three examples of citizen journalism websites you might want to imitate: The first example comes from the UK - a blog called BloodandProperty http://bloodandproperty.blogspot.com/. This blogger was brought to my attention by UK Guardian blogger Dave Hill (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/davehillblog/2010/mar/16/guardian-top-london-bloggers-blood-and-property-hackney)  who refers to him (or her?) as "a Londoner who is inquisitive, persistent, literate, sane, interested in local issues and very interested in politics." Hill has added BloodandProperty to his list of Top Londo... (more)