Thursday, March 13, 2008

Citizen journalism

I don't think this is her dream career, but Shelby Monroe has left her library jobs to become an embedded journalist in Iraq. From the article it appears that she has done this very much on her own nickel, an example of a citizen journalist. Her blogs are Spirits Up, Heads Down (2008) and 101 Days With The 101st Airborne Division: The Sequel.

There are plenty of other, less dangerous ways, to become involved in citizen journalism, if you have a call to write and report on the news in your neighbourhood. The Independent Media Centre, though strongly political, is one of the early examples of the movement in North America; citizen journalism is also extremely popular in Asia, with OhMyNews (English site, Korean is here) or JasmineNews. Citizen journalism may take off in other areas, with services such as Backfence or the EveryBlock service, the outgrowth of

Of course, any of these efforts could just devolve into a Twitterous-tumult of JuicyCampus postings, more hurtful gossip than news, but alternative community newspapers could also piggy-back on the success of Craigslist and it would be wonderful if the library, or librarians, were the hub of the movement.

You can follow Shelby Monroe and become an active correspondent or you could offer services, such as how to write programs or editorial services to citizen journalists, whether at the library you work at or as a freelance editor since we all want to look good in print.

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