May 11, 2007

Citizen journalism in the neighbourhood

Anita Srinivasan of Poes Gardens and Vrinda Manocha of Valmiki Nagar should be celebrating this weekend.
Their news reports have found a place in our neighbourhood newspapers.
Both have just completed the annual summer Journalism Camp which 'Mylapore Times' conducts for senior students every year. There was a bonus which we had offered the participants - if their reports on a local place, person or issue was well-reported then it would be considered for publication.
Anita, a computer geek of sorts, filed rather regularly and this week, we chose to publish hers on a new restaurant in the Alwarpet area.
Vrinda, who was fighting shyness and her lack of knowledge of Thamizh while on the 'beat' in Thiruvanmiyur, was also a diligent reporter. And we chose to publish two of her community stories in the 'Adyar Times'.
This summer, young Abhinaya Mohan, who also attended a longer Journalism Course of ours last year, has come back to spend part of her summer hols, at the office and work on stories and features. You will find her work appearing in the 'Mylapore Times'.
At our newspapers we receive a stream of e-mails, faxes, press releases and phone calls from people who want to share information. Or send us material.
This information helps us do more news stories.
Now perhaps is the time to initiate a few weekend camps for all our readers and other stake- holders of the community newspapers, which will equip them to mail news stories and story leads.
Citizen journalism is slowly making itself felt in the print and television media in this country.
It has been in vogue elsewhere and is a hugely debated subject in the media world.
I believe that people can also play a role in media, especially in community newspapers.
That is why we plan to conduct a few community journalism camps on Sunday evenings at a few venues in the neighbourhoods of Adyar, Mylapore, Arcot Road colonies and in Velachery.
Camps at which we will share basic skills and tips with the interested, which should make them local journalists.
Help them write sharp press releases, motivate them to tip us to breaking news, encourage them shoot clear pictures and e-mail us crisp and info-rich copy on local events.
Let me know what you think of this idea. (You can comment on this my blog or mail me your feedback).
And once the highs of 42 degrees is smothered by the winds of June, we should roll out these camps.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting idea.....