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Introduction to Community Journalism MCOM 404: Community Journalism.

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1 Introduction to Community Journalism MCOM 404: Community Journalism

2 What constitutes a community? Community is a word that researchers have struggled to define for decades One of the most obvious ways is by using census data, But a community can also be defined by the development of relationships and systems within a location or organization

3 What constitutes a community? Stamm and Fortini-Campbell’s suggests (1983) three domains of community community as a place, community as a social structure and community as a Social process. They break down these domains into connections or ties that people form.

4 What constitutes a community? Ties to place include home ownership, years of residence in the community and anticipated length of stay. Ties to structure include friendships, relationships with neighbors and other community members, and participation in volunteer groups, service clubs and committees.

5 What constitutes a community? Ties to social process involve engaging in community affairs, attending meetings, sharing concerns and thoughts, and facilitating change.

6 What Community Journlaism? Waddle defined CJ as: Community journalism is the “bonding between reader and newspaper that occurs when a genuine caring relationship” replaces profit motive.

7 What Community Journlaism? Lauterer, in his book, “Community Journalism: A Personal Approach,” elaborates on the definition of community journalism says: Community journalism occurs when journalists become “citizen journalists, intimately involving themselves in the welfare of the place, the civic life of their towns”

8 What Community Journlaism? Community journalism flourishes when journalists are “an active member of the very community they’re covering” Lauterer makes a distinction between community newspapers and large dailies, saying, “The most common misconception is that the community paper is a small version of the big city daily. Nothing could be further from the truth”

9 What Community Journlaism? Community journalism flourishes when A positive and intimate relationship between a newspaper and its community is what sets small-town papers apart from big city dailies (Lauterer, 2000). Community journalists care about the town’s “successes and tragedies and rewards and problems and even its wonderfully plain, ordinary, everyday life” (Waddle, 2003, p. 16).

10 What Community Journlaism? Community newspapers also provide an “affirmation of the sense of community,” a reader’s desire that bigger papers cannot fulfill in addition to the local news that other newspapers and other media do not cover. Community journalists play a role “in defining and reflecting the perspectives of community members” (Husselbee & Adams, 1996)

11 What Community Journlaism? Brook Hodges, editor of the 4,100 circulation newspaper in Winslow, Ariz., said journalists shouldn't have to choose between being a journalist and being involved in civic activities (O’Brien, 2003). “‘Our town is so small, if you aren’t involved outside of the newspaper, you can’t have a life,’

12 What Community Journlaism? Hodges said. ‘Everybody’s kids play ball. Everybody goes to the same church. You’re entitled to be involved in your community’” (O’Brien, 2003, p. 16).

13 What Community Journlaism? Some elements we should be considering in building community journalism: 1. Closeness, intimacy and really getting to understand the community and care about what is happening in the community. 2. Personal connection 3. Have a cultural connection, understanding to the community.

14 What Community Journlaism? 4. Community transcends geography because of shared experience-- communities of interest. 5. Not telling a story; we are telling someone's story. 6. We are mirroring the community, we have to mirror the people within the community,

15 What Community Journlaism? 7. News organizations don't live in a vacuum; we are interdependent with our neighbors as well as with the traditional sources. 8. Community is a process-- through which people live their lives. 9. A good community journalist has to care about the community, but also about the people.

16 What Community Journlaism? 10. Digital technology--using it for conversation 11. Leadership role. The news media can span community boundaries. Can be the stabilizing magnet to help the communities to work together. 12. Can enhance the conversation to seek the truth.

17 What Community Journlism? Community journalism is a more people- centered approach to developing stories and the stories ‘suggested for the media. Community journalism is also known as public journalism or civic journalism which contains a wide range of practices designed to give news organizations greater insights into the communities they cover with the purpose to serve the best interests of them.

18 Public Journalism The US journalistic reform movement known as “public” (or “civic”) journalism has during the past decade inspired like-minded initiatives in other parts of the world, including Africa (Malawi, Senegal, Swaziland), the Asia-Pacific Rim (Australia, Japan, New Zealand), Europe (Finland, Spain, Sweden), and South America (Argentina, Columbia, Mexico).

19 Public Journalism Since 1988, when the first public journalism project was launched by the Ledger- Enquirer, a local newspaper in Columbus, the vast majority of projects have been conducted by newspapers, many television and radio stations, both private and public, have experimented with public journalism.

20 Categories of Public Journalism Projects The public journalism projects conducted to date fall within two broad categories: election initiatives and special projects.

21 Election Initiatives During national and local elections, news organizations committed to public journalism have made efforts to focus their reporting on topics of concern to citizens rather than on the campaign agendas of candidates for office.

22 Election Initiatives This has been accomplished by identifying citizen concerns through large-scale telephone surveys, focus group discussions, and indepth interviews, soliciting questions to candidates from citizens and relaying their answers in the news pages,

23 Election Initiatives Facilitating actual interaction between citizens and candidates in the form of town- hall style meetings, and reporting back on the outcomes of such citizen-candidate encounters.

24 Special Projects News organizations committed to public journalism have engaged in special projects aimed at focusing attention on political problems of particular concern to citizens, such as race-relations, educational inequalities, and poverty, among others.

25 Special Projects This has been accomplished by reporting on those problems from the perspectives of citizens rather than politicians, experts, and other elite actors, offering citizens opportunities to express and debate their opinions in the news pages, elaborating on what citizens can do to address given problems in practice,

26 Special Projects Organizing sites for citizen deliberation and action such as roundtables, community forums, and local civic groups, and following up on citizen initiatives through on-going and sustained coverage.

27 Public Journalism in News Organizations Aside from such project-based initiatives, many news organizations have taken steps to make public journalism an integral part of their routine information-gathering, reporting, and evaluation practices, including by restructuring their newsrooms from conventional beat systems revolving around institutional sources of information to include multiple teams focusing on particular topics of concern to citizens,

28 Public Journalism in News Organizations reporting on those topics from the perspectives of citizens rather than various elite actors, and offering citizens opportunities to evaluate news coverage on a regular basis.

29 Citizen Journalism The ability of the ‘ordinary person on the street’ to create and distribute their own content has increased exponentially over the last decade. Factors for this include technological developments that have reduced the price and increased the availability of user-friendly content capture devices, such as Flip cameras and mobile phones, alongside the absorption into popular consciousness of free distribution sites such as Youtube and Facebook.

30 Citizen Journalism The result of this production is certainly a lot of footage of sneezing animals and laughing babies but there is also more depth and heart to the application of these social media tools, and this is the ground held by citizen journalists.

31 Citizen Journalism Citizen Journalism is defined in We Media as, “public citizens playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information." Popular examples of citizen journalism breaching the mainstream media on an international and national field include the Arab spring uprising,

32 Citizen Journalism the Occupy movement or the commentary in the blogosphere that tracked the summer riots in the UK.

33 Citizen Journalism From both the formal and informal interpretations of Citizen Journalism, one message seems to come through more clearly than others: the relationship to news. The term seems to relate to ordinary people creating, reporting from or commenting on key newsworthy events.

34 Citizen Journalism It is this close relationship to traditional journalism that has led to some professional journalists criticizing, “the unregulated nature of citizen journalism…for being too subjective, amateurish, and haphazard in quality and coverage.”

35 Citizen Journalism By sharing the term ‘journalism’, there seems to be an in-built expectation from the mainstream that citizen journalists should be maintaining the standards and mimicking the guidelines by which professional trained journalists tell their ‘news’.

36 Citizen Journalism In reality though, individual citizen journalists can enjoy the freedoms of telling their stories in their own ways using social media to do so – and the results can therefore be wide-ranging in efficacy, effect and form.

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