Fourteen student journalists from four continents speaking five languages (Arabic, Chinese, Danish, English, Spanish and Urdu) will cover downtown Los Angeles’ car-free event, CicLAvia, Sunday Oct. 7.
Follow them at @PopUpNewsroom, popupnews.tumblr.com, and pinterest.com/popupnewsroom/
In a nod to Tuesday’s global day celebrating press freedom, my students in the International News Media class have spent the last three weeks trying to connect with fellow students in other countries to find out how free their student media are. (This year’s theme is: “21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers.”) They’ve reached out to individual students and to Journalism departments in countries ranging from Mexico to Tanzania.
Are we living in a global village after all? Results on Wednesday.
If you’d like to be part of the World Press Freedom Day celebration, UNESCO is soliciting video responses to “What does press freedom mean to you?”
Some of our International News Media students (and others) Tweeted Wednesday’s talk by the former Current TV journalist Euna Lee who was imprisoned in North Korea for 140 days.
You might think imprisoned journalists are a CSUN Journalism Department specialty, but I’d rather say we like to support tenacious journalists, videographers and anyone else who wants to bring us the untold stories from other parts of the world.
As an end-of-semester exercise, students in my tutorial, Citizen Journalism, reflected on their experiences posting content (text and stills or video) to one of two citizen journalism sites: AllVoices or Demotix. Students initially talked about citizen journalism as “competition” for beginning journalists, but eventually came around to seeing how they could, as one student put it, “co-exist” and maybe even benefit each other.
“With the opportunity for non-journalists to write and post their stories on sites like Demotix and IReport, it really made me feel threatened. I felt cheated that I have invested a lot of money for a four- degree, and people are literally getting handed the essential tools we learned in a page of notes.
But she goes on to say: “The more the class progressed, I began to see the advantages of using citizen journalists for their ideas.”
Other students observed:
“The project in citizen journalism was certainly not a new experience. We as college journalism students have been doing it for years now.”
This student also says that students and citizen journalists face the same problems: lack of high-profile affiliation (i.e., “I’m with the LAT” gets phone calls returned) and a difficulty quickly locating credible sources.
Generating an Audience
Students also responded to the amount of traffic their stories got. While one student thought that focusing on promoting their work and tracking audiences took away from reinforcing the basics, another one whose story on a cooking class got 800 plus views said,
“I was instantly inspired to do it again since the thought of other people seeing something I wrote was exciting.”
Another student who got 91 page views for her video on kosher food noted,
“If I would have promoted it more or made tags that were a bit more user-friendly it could have gained a larger audience.”
A student who wrote about weightloss surgery decided that the topic wasn’t a good one for citizen journalism. Instead of trying to “emulate the mainstream media” in selecting stories, he said that writing for a very specific niche that would otherwise never get covered was the key to generating an audience with citizen media sites.
A student who reported on an Encino community garden also found pageviews weren’t enough for her:
“Within a few days my story had been Tweeted but never did I receive any comments. I would have liked to have seen people’s thoughts, regardless if they were good or bad.”
Below is a summary of the views, Tweets and topics. Follow the links to view the stories.
|Topic||Pageviews||Tweets or Likes||Citizen journalism site|
|Locally owned fresh market||58||0||AllVoices|
|Homeless shelter cooking||50||0||AllVoices|