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Ron Ross

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Lots of folks ask us, "What makes a good citizen journalist?"   The short answer is passion. But a good a good citizen journalist needs more than just passion. Six proficiencies that a good citizen journalist needs to develop are: Curiosity. 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 attention to anything other than what is going on in their tiny world; they can sit through a train wreck or sleep through an earthquake and not know it ever happened. On the other hand, good citizen journalists are aware of events as they unfold around them and recognize the degree of importance they have for themselves and their readers. Wherever you go, keep your eyes and ears open for your next news or feature story. You never know when it is likely to come. Questioning skil... (more)

More Citizen Journalists Needed

A recent edition of Editor and Publisher, the oldest journal covering the newspaper industry, reported on a study by the University of Missouri School of Journalism that found that the number of citizen journalists is insufficient to meet the needs of shrinking newsrooms. Here is the lead paragraph of the story:   Citizen journalism isn’t stepping up sufficiently to fill the “information shortfall” caused by cutbacks in the newsrooms of newspapers and other traditional news organizations, a University of Missouri School of Journalism study finds. To read the full story - CLIC... (more)

CNN's Ratings Boosted by Citizen Journalism

Lately CNN's ratings have been in the ditch - often in last place against its cable news rivals. But the ratings shot up when CNN used on-the-scene citizen reporters during the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, according to The New York Times. CNN's ratings jumped more than 400 percent and brought the cable news channel 2.2 million viewers on the first day of the disaster - beating Fox News for the first time in memory by a couple of hundred thousand viewers and trouncing MSNBC's meager 558,000 viewers. CNN even came close to beating Fox News in the primetime slot (8-11 p.m.). W... (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)

Helen Crump – Citizen Journalist

Did you know that one of television’s best-loved characters, Andy Griffith’s sweetheart Helen Crump, started out her career as a citizen journalist? In episode 244 (Season 8 – 1967-68) of the popular show it was revealed that Helen Crump, played perfectly by Aneta Corsaut, was a citizen journalist before moving to Mayberry to teach school. Here’s how the story line goes. Andy is at Helen’s house waiting to pick her up for an impromptu date. Helen needed something for her class the next day that she was certain was in an old box she had in a closet. She asks Andy to look through... (more)