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Citizen Reporting can be Rewarding and Fun

By   /   May 12, 2014  /   Comments Off

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Citizen journalism (also known as “public”, “participatory”, “democratic” or “street journalism”) is the concept of members of the public “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information,” according to the seminal 2003 report We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information. Authors Bowman and Willis say: “The intent of this participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires.”

Citizen journalism should not be confused with community journalism or civic journalism, which are practiced by professional journalists, or collaborative journalism, which is practiced by professional and non-professional journalists working together. Citizen journalism is a specific form of citizen media as well as user generated content.

Mark Glaser, a freelance journalist who frequently writes on new media issues, said in 2006:

The idea behind citizen journalism is that people without professional journalism training can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact-check media on their own or in collaboration with others. For example, you might write about a city council meeting on your blog or in an online forum. Or you could fact-check a newspaper article from the mainstream media and point out factual errors or bias on your blog. Or you might snap a digital photo of a newsworthy event happening in your town and post it online. Or you might videotape a similar event and post it on a site such as YouTube.

Thats what we have been doing for over 9 years and counting. We would like to make this year the best. We would love for you to be part of it.

It has been one hell of a ride the last couple of weeks on Cactus Thorns. So many stories in so little time.

We have a great group of writers who have come up with some killer stuff. Who would have thought that we would have 6 story lines going hot and heavy all at once.

The subscriber comments are great and have increased 100 fold.

We are looking for more writers to cover Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, Lucerne Valley and Landers/Johnson Valley.We want human interest, history, politics and local dirt. We want you to be able to read the latest news from people in the field with cameras ready and posting stories as soon as they get to a terminal. We want to beat the hell out of the local papers and send Gary into hyper spin.

If fame is your goal and you don’t care about the money, citizen journalism is where you want to be. You will not make a dime but you sure as hell will become a well known character.

If you are a loyal reader you know that when it comes to local issues your party affiliation is useless. Because like they say when it comes right down to it all politics are local and local politics is in this Basin a blood sport.

As the Publisher of Cactus Thorns I could care less about a fellows politics as long as he can string words together to make a good story. All I require is that you have the facts straight and have the proof to back it up. That is the great thing about the Internet you can not only upload the story but the background information can be added as PDFs and Doc files to a story.

Over the years we have broken many a story here that became headlines weeks later in the local media. We have actually driven the news. I know there are hundreds of stories yet to be discovered. I would like to invite those who know the stories to come and tell our readers.

So if you have a pet peeve that has been stuck in you craw, write about it. Let us know you want to be printed here. Once you have proven to be able to write reliable stories that are backed by the facts you might be asked to join our little band of Citizen Journalist as a regular.

I would like for you to think of this site as your first choice in local news. Not only the regular news stories but the news that the papers or the radio stations either fail to or refuse to cover.

So join in the fun.

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About the author

Dan OBrien


Cactus Thorns has been online in one form or the other since 2001. What started as a personal blog documenting the corruption and lack of Due Process of the 29 Palms Community Development Department has turned into over these many years into a hugely popular Independent Alternative News Media Outlet. We have partnered with other media including The Desert Star Weekly, Joshua Tree Star, other blogs, indie media and an incredible staff of volunteer Reporters, Commentators and Opinion Makers to create one of the most read, honest and dependable alternative to the Local traditional Media services in the country. Thanks to you the reader we are in the 5% of most read sites in the World.

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