Recruiting Citizen Journalists

30 03 2011

I have just got back from citizen journalism workshop at the Crisis Skylight educational project in Aldgate, London on Tuesday 30th March.

In the workshop I taught basic journalism craft skills to a small group of people who use the project. The idea is that we will research a story over the next two days and bring it back on Friday for a ‘press day’ workshop where we will create, with the help of Jamie Thunder – another MA investigative- a ‘newsy’ group blog called the Daily Gorgon.

So what is citizen journalism? For a start British people are subgects, not citizens, so the title is a bit of a misnomer. However, for me it means ‘journalism from below’ as opposed to journalism from the giddy heights of the mass media industry.

This doesn’t mean that journalism craft skills, media law and ethics, and the motive of an enquiry into the truth do not translate to citizen journalism and this was what my workshops are trying to encourage.

Citizen journalists tend to have an advantage over proffessionals who have to work to an editorial and commercial agenda set by the organisation that employs them. The public know this, and this is one of the reasons why professional journalists find it hard to gain the trust of their sources and subjects. Their advantage, of course, is access to a wide audience/readership through the mass media organisation that they are working for.

Two of the Daily Gorgon group are covering a story that I commissioned. On Thursday the Choir With No Name – a choir made up of homeless and ex-homeless people – will be doing a gig in Shoreditch to celebrate their third birthday. I got press passes for two citizen journalists from the Daily Gorgon who are going to write it up as a news blog. I will also be going to get some flip footage for both WVJ and the Daily Gorgon.

The Choir With No Name in action- courtesy of the Choir With No Name.

Hopefully the Daily Gorgon will survive the end of the two workshops and some of the group will continue to write for it, and the next series of workshops in the summer will recruit more citizen journalists. I will use WVJ to help expand the skill base of the Daily Gorgon so that we are a multi-media site. This will take commitment from both myself and the Daily Gorgon journalists.

Like all the best citizen journalism – It will be a labour of Love!

By Mike Doherty




2 responses

26 04 2011
April 2011 Citizen Journalism Video of the Month: HomoSapien2012 | Alternative News Report

[…] Recruiting Citizen Journalists ( […]

28 04 2011
Announcement: There’s A New Website for Uploading Citizen Journalism Video | Alternative News Report

[…] Recruiting Citizen Journalists ( […]

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