Media Minutemen 2.0

Let’s imagine that citizen journalism could become a powerful, new force in the body politic. We’ve already seen its potential in the sites that sprang up around the tsunami and the Gulf hurricanes. But providing fodder for a huge story that already has the world’s attention is one thing. To really change things citizen journalists will have to add new topics to the debate, perhaps stir things up in their towns by turning county grand jury reports on government operations into a series of stories on reform, for instance. In short, citizens will have to learn journalism.

So let me pull together a few sites here where the interested citizen can learn more about the how-to of journalism. I may add to the list from time to time, and please suggest any good bets that I overlook. has an A to Z tools index with specific topics for print, broadcast and online journalists. It’s a great resource. Visit and mine it.

Teaching journalism as decision-making is a concise essay on the journalistic mindset. It is well-worth reading. Here’s a snippet:

“Journalists … reflect on, assess and understand the nature and meaning of words and the hidden meanings contained within the words and news writing as a whole. Critical reflection as part of journalism practice should never be confused with the personal navel-gazing in which journalists sometimes indulge in at a bar … “ is an aggregation of teaching tools and case studies assembled by Texas high school journalism teacher Dianne Smith.

To teach yourself Web publishing start with, a site dedicated to helping citizen journalists acquire new media technical skills.

To find inspiration visit a year-old site with “87,000 grassroots-lovin’ members – and counting.”

Ethics is a topic bordering on obsession with journalists, and I recently blogged four entries on this theme. Speaking of Ethics is an introduction; Time, Tech Temper J-Ethics looks at the topic over time; J-Ethics, Broadcast and the Fairness Doctrine focuses on the rise of objectivity; and Paparazzi Ethics is my stab at where new media is taking us.

Finally, I found two reflections by journalism teachers, one from a media veteran turned pedagogue, the other from an instructor who took a mainly academic path. Is there a difference in tone here or is that my imagination?

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media