Student Citizen Journalism

    Mary asked a question the other day that I thought was worth pulling into a main post.  She :

Bud (and others), how do you envision students using CoverItLive for anything related to citizen journalism?
-Mary

I :

Mary,

What a great question. I’ve got a longer post that I’d like to write about how we might start thinking about student citizen journalism, but I think it makes almost immediate sense to descend upon a city or school district meeting with a few computers. The teacher can moderate and students can post about the meeting taking place. Later on, the video of the meeting can be combined with the transcript to make for an excellent reflective opportunity.

I think tools like these are perfect for citizen journalists – students or otherwise.

Your turn. Is that a good idea?  Do you promote student citizen journalism in your classes?  If so, what do you do? If not, why not?

2 thoughts on “Student Citizen Journalism

  1. I’e been thinking lately that in a world where publishing is more and more expected, we should be teaching every kid good journalism skills. What if we approached this from the angle of every student being able to be an effective reporter of his/her own life? Or something like that.

    I think CoveritLive would at the very least help students with notetaking skills.

  2. If we were to combine the initial thoughts of both Bud and Will, I think it would be wise to begin by teaching journalism skills and to end by applying those skills in a truly public forum such as a school board or city council meeting. In the interim, students could develop skills by writing about themselves, as Will suggests, or by covering school events such as drama productions, concerts, art exhibitions, sports of all kinds, and classroom projects (perhaps using CoverItLive as their read/write tool).

    One of the problems with citizen journalism is the lack of editorial oversight. Another, it seems to me, is the temptation to ignore the training and rigor required of professional journalists–sort of like saying that anyone can teach because they’ve been a student. Student citizen journalism does call for the guidance of a teacher as well as the feedback of peers and perhaps even of local professional journalists. I would be most interested in reading your management ideas.

    Because I am a strong advocate of teaching with primary sources, I also like the idea of examining bias and stereotypes in historic newspapers as a part of journalism training. A comparison of early newspaper media with the blogs and online news media of today can also be a powerful means of critiquing and learning about changing journalism methods.

    It would also be useful to look at some of the current citizen journalism projects for young people. An example would be MTV’s Street Team ’08 “Choose or Lose” campaign to get young people politically active.

    In another example, the Denver Newspaper Agency in Colorado, through its “Newspapers in Education” program, has taken the YourHub idea of citizen journalism a step further by developing a YourHub Next Generation Web site for young reporters . Three of their youth reporters have gained official credentials to enter and report on the 2008 Democratic national convention–a most coveted honor for a middle schooler!

    I think the step between students reporting about their own lives and reporting about community political and social issues is a big one, but it’s a step made easier and more relevant through the use of Read/Write tools such as CoverItLive. Given the high interest in the 2008 elections, the timing is perfect.

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