J-School: Educating Independent Journalists

“If tools could make anyone who picked them up an expert, they’d be valuable indeed.” Plato, The Republic

Archive for October, 2007

Reporting Workshop Application

Posted by chanders on October 11, 2007

There’s been some controversy– though thats probably too strong a word– about whether we should request “applications” from the people who want to attend the Indypendent reporting workshops. The ultimate point isn’t actually to ever screen anyone out, but to get some basic information about the goals of the people who will be attending. Do they want to write for the Indy? For NYC Indymedia? Their own blog? Or are they more interested in media criticism and less on learning how to be a reporter in the traditional sense? Plus, having folks fill out an application creates an immediate sense of ownership of the project; they’ve already put work into it, so it maes them more likely to a) come, and b) take it seriously.

So, with that minor intro, here’s the text of the application we’ve used for the workshop Saturday.


New York City Independent Media Center

The Indypendent’s Citizen Journalism Reporting Workshop Application

1.) Why do you want to participate in The Indypendent’s reporting workshop? What would you like to get out of it?

2.) Do you have prior journalism experience? If so, explain. (Experience not required for workshop.)

3.) Do you have any prior activism experience? If so, explain briefly. (Experience not required for workshop.)

4.) Are you interested in writing for the New York Independent Media Center in the future? (Interest not required.)

5.) Tell us something interesting about yourself.

Application Deadline: Wednesday, October 10, 2007. 5pm.
Email Completed Application to: indyreporting@gmail.com


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Indypendent Journalism Workshop, October 13

Posted by chanders on October 10, 2007

Here’s the text of the announcement that went out for the Indypendent reporting workshop, which will be held this Saturday:

Do you want to be the next citizen reporter?
Are you tired of the mainstream media and want to learn how to BE the media?


Longtime contributors and volunteers with The Indypendent will lead this 4-hour basic journalism and introduction to Indymedia workshop. The workshop is open to anyone interested in learning the basics of journalism in order to be able to report on the world around them.

When: Saturday, October 13, 2007 – 1pm to 5pm
Where: New York Independent Media Center, 4 West 43rd Street, Suite 311
(btw 5th and 6th Aves, Midtown Manhattan, near D,B,F,V subway train’s 42nd Street stop and Grand Central Station)
Cost: Sliding Scale ($5-20). No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

No prior experience in journalism required. Limited space available so apply today!
Email indyreporting@gmail.com for more information and a simple 1-page application.

The Indypendent is the only truly progressive free newspaper in New York City. We provide original in-depth, hard-hitting reporting on local, national and international news and commentary to our print and online readership of about 50,000.

We are a predominantly volunteer-run organization that is funded by individual supporters, ad sales to progressive local businesses and enterprises, and sales of posters and books that we’ve produced.

We have won dozens of awards from the Independent Press Association — and pride ourselves on providing a forum for the hundreds of social justice groups working on the issues that we report on. As the Newspaper of the New York Independent Media Center, we are dedicated to empowering people to create a true alternative to corporate press and to be the media.

The Indypendent – http://www.indypendent.org

The Indypendent is the newspaper project of your New York City Independent Media Center. You can always publish your news and view at: http://www.nyc.indymedia.org

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What This is All About

Posted by chanders on October 10, 2007

The original impetus for this weblog sprang from two quotes and three coincidences.

Quote 1: In July 2007, Jay Rosen, of the NYU School of Journalism and NewAssignment.Net, discussed the lessons he learned from NewAssignment.Net’s first experiment in crowdsourced reporting. At one point, Jay dropped the following tidbit of information:

I asked [Jimmy Wales], why did Wikipedia work when the odds are that most things don’t work, and he said something very important, although its significance escaped me at the time. People come to Wikipedia not knowing how it works, but they do know how a regular, ‘ol encyclopedia works and so the “leap” to what a free online encyclopedia would be like is not that great. This prior knowledge is critical to a system’s viability because is constrains users and points them in the logical directions. How much did it cost Wikipedia to put that common understanding into each contributor’s head? Zero! They already knew it. Explaining the way it works takes all of six words: “The online encyclopedia anyone can edit.” With 6,000 words we did not get clarity on what a crowdsourced investigation asked of participants because there was no common image to start with, nothing comparable to “encyclopedia, right!…”

Quote 2: In his blog last week, CUNY Journalism School Prof. Jeff Jarvis recounted this experience in teaching the school’s interactive journalism course. Jarvis wrote:

“Our first challenge, I think, is to figure out how to teach interactivity – before our students have publics with whom to interact. Blogging would seem to be the perfect tool to explore this relationship. But in my first year teaching at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, I must confess, I did my worst job teaching weblogs. Oh, the irony. I made the assumption that these young people shared a common understanding of blogging when, in fact, they each brought widely different definitions and presumptions, some treacherous (that is, that blogging licenses and demands snarking). Many weren’t ready to serve a public, did not know how to, even feared doing so.”

3 Coincidences: In the course of the past week, I’ve facilitated a panel at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism on journalism education (in memory of Prof. James Carey), attended a large summit on networked journalism, and will be helping to teach a reporting workshop at NYC Indymedia.

The Upshot: What do independent, or citizen, or networked, or pro-am journalists need to know, and what are we teaching them? This relates to a larger question: what do journalists, of any stripe, need to know … and what are we teaching them? This matters for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that a claim to knowledge is fundamentally a claim to power. When someone (or in the case, a group of someones– an occupation, or a profession) claims that they know something, they simultaneously claim that they have authority over some slice of the social world. And understanding claims of occupational knowledge can help us understand claims to authority in general.

I hope that eventually this blog becomes a collaborative effort. As of right now, it will be a place to: 1) Gather information about actually-existing independent journalism training programs, 2) Gather information about journalism education in general, 3) See examples of citizens journalism in action, and 4) Think, talk, dialog, and share.

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