PacificEdge
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PacificEdge

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technology of reporting and publishing because they are changing rapidly and anything we write is sure to soon become outdated.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
    https://medium.com/pacificedge/1-a-few-definitions-f5f91a7c166c

2. Introducing Citizen Journalism
https://medium.com/pacificedge/2-introducing-citizen-journalism-2c4415d7bd9a

3. Backstory
https://medium.com/pacificedge/3-backstory-7264984002d5

4. Making a start in citizen journalism with basic skills and equipment
https://medium.com/pacificedge/4-making-a-start-in-citizen-journalism-with-basic-skills-and-equipment-e26e712e5b69

5. Our challenge: the distrust of media
https://medium.com/pacificedge/5-our-challenge-the-distrust-of-media-6e4260c9386c

6. Things we will encounter
https://medium.com/pacificedge/6-things-we-will-encounter-e7fa181f2b03

7. Dealing with conspiracy theories
https://medium.com/pacificedge/7-dealing-with-conspiracy-theories-44cf0c109153

8. The legals
https://medium.com/pacificedge/8-the-legals-362d720c6ef1

9. An insight into copyright
https://medium.com/pacificedge/12-an-insight-into-copyright-3aff486f8edf

10. On offence
https://medium.com/pacificedge/10-on-offence-f6d63e465ea8

11. On bias
https://medium.com/pacificedge/11-on-bias-3dc25a0a3874

12. Be wary of word salads
https://medium.com/pacificedge/12-be-wary-of-word-salads-7717ecebc2c5

13. The necessity of skepticism
https://medium.com/pacificedge/13-the-necessity-of-skepticism-b53e26b11b65

14. Types of stories and writing
https://medium.com/pacificedge/14-types-of-stories-and-writing-441c387dd171

15. Practices for citizen journalists
https://medium.com/pacificedge/15-practices-for-citizen-journalists-e4bdfc7cc0b9

16. Writing and distributing our stories
https://medium.com/pacificedge/16-writing-and-distributing-our-stories-e41e2f801558

17. Writing: a few considerations
https://medium.com/pacificedge/17-writing-a-few-considerations-2f43bb8dcf3a

18. Let’s start writing
https://medium.com/pacificedge/18-lets-start-writing-416a35b74504

19. About formats: News or features?
https://medium.com/pacificedge/19-about-formats-news-or-features-a57df5c7d76

20. Follow the arc
https://medium.com/pacificedge/20-follow-the-arc-8be63c60b2e2

21. Write sticky stories
https://medium.com/pacificedge/22-writing-reviews-eb9b87c15955?source=friends_link&sk=a0dba6dec5d105f231c96aaf80c5a0f8

22. Writing reviews
https://medium.com/pacificedge/22-writing-reviews-eb9b87c15955

23. Doing radio interviews
https://medium.com/pacificedge/23-doing-radio-interviews-2ede85a50ea1

24. Civic affairs reporting for citizen journalists
https://medium.com/pacificedge/24-civic-affairs-reporting-for-citizen-journalists-811cc3b22b3d

25. Using audio and video
https://medium.com/pacificedge/25-using-audio-and-video-d1ac1b6752ed

26. Photography for the citizen journalist
https://medium.com/pacificedge/26-photography-for-the-citizen-journalist-8c7bdba6fe23

27. Shooting video for MOJO
https://medium.com/pacificedge/27-shooting-video-for-mojo-e61330a92f20

28. The time is now
https://medium.com/pacificedge/28-the-time-is-now-e649f224a824

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Russ Grayson

Russ Grayson

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