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The Citizen Journalism manual…

2. Introducing Citizen Journalism

It’s all storytelling, you know. That’s what journalism is all about… Tom Brokaw.

I SET UP the Citizen Journalism blog to help those with something to say make a start in saying it. Citizen Journalism is a blog for people getting into online writing, audio and video.

In this online ebook we visit the ethics and practices that make for responsible and engaging citizen journalism. Some of those practices come from the days of print journalism because they are applicable to online writing. Others come from the practice of writing and photographing for online media.

We will look at what we think about prior to writing; how we construct stories; the essence of good, basic writing; blogs and social media; making our stories readable; and how to produce photographs to accompany our stories. We will not look in detail at cameras, software, the internet and social media and the technology of reporting and publishing because they are changing rapidly and anything we write is sure to soon become outdated. I suggest finding blogs reporting the technology side of citizen journalism and online media if you are interested in that.

The focus of the Citizen Journalism series is on written material supplemented by stills photography, however the principles and journalistic practices apply equally to audio and video production. This is less a how-to blog about using equipment and online systems and more a blog about producing material that will engage readers, listeners and viewers and about being a responsible citizen journalist.

Citizen Journalism will get you started in this still-evolving form of media production. After reading and practicing the material, I recommend you start writing and publishing your blog and, if you feel the motivation, enrol in an online courses in writing and journalism.

Now it’s time to get started.

Biographical note

I have written stories and produced photographs for print media as an employed journalist and as a freelancer.

My move into radio news and current affairs and radio documentary came when doing a communications degree at the University of Technology, Sydney. After that, I edited a journal for the then-emerging environmental industries and produced broadcast material for ABC Radio National Breakfasttime.

Later, I was Projects and Development Education Officer for a small NGO working in the South West Pacific where I wrote and edited instruction manuals, produced the NGO’s newsletter and organised educational events. Around that time, as Community Liaison I produced Greening Australia’s quarterly journal as well as newsletters for community organisations and freelance stories for ABC Organic Gardening and online publications. All of this work involved both writing and photography.

My current focus is producing online material for this and my other Medium blogs, Permaculture Journal and By Road & Track.

You can find me at:

Learn more

After going through Citizen Journalism, I suggest you learn more by taking a short course in blogging.

My recommendation is Australian site, ProBlogger:

The Citizen Journalism Manual…

  1. Citizen journalism: A few definitions

2. Introducing Citizen Journalism

3. Backstory

4. Making a start in citizen journalism with basic skills and equipment

5. Our challenge: the distrust of media

6. Things we will encounter

7. Dealing with conspiracy theories

8. The legals

9. An insight into copyright

10. On offence

11. On bias

12. Be wary of word salads

13. The necessity of skepticism

14. Types of stories and writing

15. Practices for citizen journalists

16. Writing and distributing our stories

17. Writing: a few considerations

18. Let’s start writing

19. About formats: News or features?

20. Follow the arc

21. Write sticky stories

22. Writing reviews

23. Doing radio interviews

24. Civic affairs reporting for citizen journalists

25. Using audio and video

26. Photography for the citizen journalist

27. Shooting video for MOJO

28. The time is now



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Russ Grayson

I'm an independent online and photojournalist living on the Tasmanian coast after nine months on the road in a minivan.