As citizen journalism moves from an interesting concept to something more and more people will practice, we need to help would-be citizen journalists understand some fundamental principles of the craft.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, an organization that has been helping train journalists for decades, understands the need. We’re happy to announce that the foundation has awarded a grant to the Center for Citizen Media to create five online training modules for citizen journalists. Those modules will cover 1) thoroughness, 2) accuracy, 3) fairness, 4) transparency and 5) independence. We hope you’ll help us.
The foundation believes this kind of training will be increasingly important because a fast-growing way in which citizens influence public issues and affairs is through publishing their thoughts and observations on blogs. The number of online Americans who say they have read a blog, for exmaple, now is up to 39%, according to the Pew Internet and Public Life Project.
We’re fortunate to have as a project lead JD Lasica, a longtime journalist with special expertise in the online phenomenon. JD is co-founder of OurMedia.org, a site that helps people create and post media of various kinds. He’s also author of Darknet: Hollywood’s War Against the Digital Generation.
Jan Schaffer, director of J-Lab at the University of Maryland and also director of New Voices, has years of experience creating online training modules. She will work with the Center to make sure that our observations work well as online training modules.
The modules will be available initially on the Knight Foundation site and here, and will also be available under a Creative Commons license.
We need your help. To that end, we’re creating discussion boards where we can have a conversation about the content and ideas behind these modules. Watch this space for more details.
Meanwhile, thanks to the Knight Foundation for its support.