Citizen Journalism 101


Citizen Journalism
Citizen Journalism is an important task for those of us who are interested into getting news from the spot and as fast as possible. These days we can barely trust our media; so alternative media is a must. One of the most reliable, self-correcting alternative media is Citizen Journalism, why? Because -as the picture says- “We Report without Fear or Favor”. Here is some advises on how to be efficient in what you can do best, most of these heard them and learned them from great journalists by profession or by passion.

Clothes: First what you are wearing, always wear your comfy clothes to events like a protest or a sit-in, try to wear a dark t-shirt or a shirt, preferably black – since it’s not an eye-catching color – Wear pants, I believe it protects your legs a bit especially if there is a rock fight or something similar. Wear shoes of course, for the same reason, anything that you feel comfortable wearing.

Tweeting: if you just made it into the event, first of all tweet that you are there. Ask as many eye witnesses as you can before you tweet any un-confirmed information. When you tweet about the situation you are in, try to take pictures if possible, describe the numbers and what’s going on. Try to be brief, if you can write it in one tweet it would be perfect. If you will tweet it in series of tweets use the form of (1/2 – 2/2) or (cont.). When you are tweeting try to get far from the action before you do, tweet all you want then get back, a guy looking at his phone in the middle of a fight is an easy target. Use hashtags in all your tweets.

Blogging: Write, Write, Write. Everything you see and everything you witness, writing has a huge credibility. Write at least once a week, create a blog for free, if you don’t want to, you can write a note on facebook and make it public. Read about what you want to write about to form a solid opinion about the subject. Share your writings with other bloggers and friends and ask for feedback. Always add links, pictures or videos of the subject to make the piece more interesting. Check out these blogs:

 

 

Photography: The clothing rules are used here as well, and even more important if you are carrying a camera.  Take pictures of the whole scene if it’s something big. Zoom in to a person or a group in a picture that summarizes the situation, for example if it’s a rock fight; zoom on someone who’s throwing a rock. Make the picture more human by trying to capture emotions and movements in the picture. A Picture is worth 1000 words.  Examples of great photographers:


Videos: if a picture is worth 1000 words, then a video is worth 10,000 pictures. Taking videos to me is as important as the protest. Videos document the day and what happened that day. Always take videos of important things, keep the camera on standby and don’t abuse the battery to have it running as long as you are there. Before you leave, take statements from witnesses. Try to get a zoomed footage of evidences like this.  Those are two of the best video takers/makers I know:

 

Most important, don’t stay alone for too long and stay safe. Keep your phone charged of all time, and try to carry an extra one. Once it runs out of battery if you are not doing anything important go somewhere and charge it.

 

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