Reflections, Reviews and Revisions

Ron Ross

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Citizen Journalism Studied Around the World Citizen journalism, once the butt of jokes by professional journalists, is now studied by over 51 major universities around the world. The website www.academia.edu (who’s researching what?) recently posted a list of major universities where citizen journalism is being taught, studied or researched on some level. Here’s the link to their list: http://www.academia.edu/People/Citizen_Journalism. As Catalyst-in-Chief of the National Association of Citizen Journalists, I’m pleased to see that some J-schools now recognize the role that John and Jane Doe journalists have in the future of the media. In our attempt to expand the professionalism of citizen journalists, my partner, Susan Carson Cormier, and I have recently published “Handbook for Citizen Journalists.” Aspiring and active citizen journalists will find a wealth of infor... (more)

What Makes a Good Citizen Journalist?

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... (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)

What is Your Beat, Citizen Journalist?

Most aspiring citizen journalists I meet have a favorite topic that interests them and they want to write almost exclusively about that subject. For instance, a good friend of mine writes solely about hunting and fishing in Iowa and Nebraska. Another submits articles to his local newspaper about the activities of his Rotary Club. Another citizen journalist I know submits articles about green issues and the climate change debate. All newsrooms at one time structured things that way; they would assign reporters a certain beat to cover. One would write on business issues, another s... (more)

Citizen Journalists Get Big Bucks and More

Citizen journalism is still being funded and promoted around the world in a variety of ways. Here are three recent examples! IN THE UK: Nearly Half-Million Dollars Awarded! The UK citizen journalism website www.blottr.com was recently awarded a hefty £250,000 (over $400,000) investment from "the man behind myvouchercodes.co.uk." CLICK HERE to read the whole story. IN AFRICA: Five Million Dollars Awarded! "On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the Omidyar Network of Redwood City, California, announced the award of nearly $5 million in funding to four media-related groups inv... (more)