In the new frontier of online journalism, what do we call the new volunteers? “Citizen Journalists” or “Community Reporters”?

A series of workshops explored this question and many others, in an attempt to better understand the growth of “hyper-local news” in towns and cities around the country. More than 50 community media and cable access television workshops were offered to 450 attendees at the national Alliance for Community Media Conference held July 27-30 in Tucson, AZ. Access Sacramento Executive Director Ron Cooper, helped to coordinate the topics and speakers for the following track: “Citizen Journalism (Community Reporting) and Social Media.” The track description reads:

“Citizen journalism and social media tools provide enormous opportunities for Community Media Centers and public access centers to grow, and provide vital community services to the citizens as well as civic and nonprofit organizations. Critical issues, such as funding models, training programs, staff & volunteer workflows, program methodologies, editorial structures, nonprofit/for-profit collaborations, social media tools, incentivizing participation, and long-term sustainability will be addressed. Other questions, such as “How does the vision for my citizen journalism project fit within the mission of my community media organization?” will be in this group of workshop.”

Workshop topics included: Fostering Citizen Journalism in Your Community;  Effective Uses of Social Media for CMC’s and Community Organizations;  Digital Storybooks Online: Archiving and Aggregating Community Video; Good News! PEG Access News Programming Continues Tradition of Community Reporting; Creating Hyper Local Community Reporting in Diverse Communities; and Citizen Journalists or Community Reporters? A Discussion of Career “Options” in a Volunteer World.

Cooper reports the workshops were well attended. “The panelists and the follow-up questions were very helpful. Our Neighborhood News and Youth Media Project in Sacramento will benefit from the lessons being learned in other communities. We should also be very proud of what we have accomplished to date. We are one of the leading communities exploring the new world of community reporting.”