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Archive for the ‘newspaper’ Category

This just in via Twitter from David Cohn, who will be a guest speaker on citizen journalism for my Community Engagement course: first community funded report published! This report explores the question: “What happens if, all of a sudden, you need to change the entire energy infrastructure on which California‚Äôs transportation system runs?” Check it out.

Here’s what David says in his introduction to this article.

[Editors Note: This is the first example of “community funded reporting” here at Spot.Us. To learn more about Spot.Us read this NY Times article. To fund another investigation – check our pre-beta wiki which still has two actionable items. As this content is commissioned by the public it is free to any news organization or blog to republish. Thank you to the donors who made this possible. At the bottom is a non-exhaustive list of other publications that have run this material.]

How cool is that? It’s commissioned by the public so it belongs to the public. (I personally contributed a small amount of money to a news story that will fact check political advertisements. Now isn’t that a great service?)

Gee, what other public institution might use this approach to decentralize reporting on local issues?

What if libraries provided the infrastructure for this kind of reporting to take place in their own community? (See the spot.us wiki) It might not be “community funded” but it could be “community based”. Citizens could make a pitch for a story they want to write about their community and be posted on the library’s wiki. Other people who share an interest could contribute content and resources. Obviously the library could support the reporter’s information needs and perhaps even provide training on how to do community-based research. When the reporter is finished, the library could provide editorial review and publishing support.

What about opinion pieces in addition to straight reporting? Last night my husband and I were reflecting on the editorial pages in our weekly village newspaper. They are dominated long articles written by a few individuals who often rant ad nauseum. (I’d like for my local library to host a workshop on how to write concise letters to the editor. At least my newspaper could refer them to information about how to write a letter to the editor!) I wonder how many thoughtful people in our community have something to say (op-ed or newsworthy) but feel shut out by the cacophony of a few. What if the library were the vehicle for people to have a voice?

hmmm, what else????
Any downsides????

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A Correction…Already!

In my last post, I noted that I was the only challenger because the most recent edition of our weekly newspaper only listed the two incumbents with me as the sole challenger. Apparently, the paper left out the name of the other challenger who had been listed in previous editions. I know this because the notification of “order of listing on the ballot” just came out and sure enough, there are four names listed. So, my apologies for not mentioning the other “challenger” in my last blog. I was only going by what my paper said…which just goes to show you that we STILL (perhaps even more) need librarians for information. We know the best intentioned newspapers make mistakes, but a librarian would hunt out information like a hungry bloodhound but wouldn’t pounce on it without verifying the primary source or evaluating its credibility.

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