Heart-to-Heart Connection

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Recession, Declining Readership, and Citizen Journalism

Tough economic times and declining readership are causing one more news organization to close.

What does this mean for citizens’ right to know and to be informed on issues affecting and impacting our lives?

Now, more than ever, is the time for citizens and journalists (many who, in the near future, will be looking for work outside of the newsroom) to collaborate and bring “live, local, late breaking” news to the public.

Public involvement equals diversity and active participation.  More voices will be heard.  Alas, democracy in action — of the people, by the people, for the people.

One’s privilege to inform, however, must be accompanied by accuracy and fairness (exclude opinion pieces and editorials).

Tom Lindley (62), a veteran journalist and national editor of Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. (CNHI) news service, shares his four words of wisdom to citizen journalists and bloggers:

  • Balance is necessary.  Present both sides.  There are always two sides to every story. Too many people view journalism as big stories; ruining somebody’s career and exposing something.  It’s not.  Life is not simply black and white, good and bad.  Life is much deeper, more complicated.
  • Journalism is a collaborative effort. Critics are necessary.  Critics encourage alternative views, depth, and refinement.  Have others read your work before publishing.
  • Citizen journalists should become familiar with libel laws. Be careful what you say about people.  Degree of fairness is necessary.
  • Professional media and citizen media can coexist. Citizens can provide a whole another checks and balances.  Citizens are everywhere.  They represent all walks of life — tremendous knowledge and expertise.  Due to severe cutbacks in the newsrooms, we now need highly talented, trained individuals to fill that void.  Collaboration is key.


January 18, 2009 - Posted by | Attitude, Change, Citizen, Education, Mind, Passion, Purpose, Spirit, Success, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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