Who asked what; when, where & why?


(Today’s question came from a citizen journalist who asks to remain anonymous. If you have a journalistic, technical or business question regarding your citizen blog send it to tomabate_book (at) hotmail.com. I’ll look for help and share it here.)

Question: How would I be able to get a listing of retired journalists who might be willing to serve as mentors on local projects? (Ideally they’d be local, but non-local would be ok, too)

Answer: Interesting idea, and once you get the mentor program going, please report back on how it worked or didn’t. Perhaps you’ve already taken the first and obvious step of posting a note on your blog. The most likely respondent is going to be a journalist who lives in your area and reads your blog or gets referred to it by a friend who does.

I also searched for “retired journalist” and found that LocalNewsDaily, a community blog in Australia posted a call for help in May 2005. (I emailed them for an update and if I get back a response, will post it here.)

The Society of Professional Journalists has an ethics hotline (aall 317/927.8000 x208 and leave a message). Maybe they’ve branched out and will help find retirees who want to advise on reporting projects? SPJ also offers training resources and maintains local chapters across the country; contact the nearest chapter and say you’re looking for a mentor for a given project.

If your blog is organized around a subject rather than a place, there may be a specialty reporting group able to help. For instance, I am a member of the Northern California Science Writers’ Association (NCSWA). In the course of searching for “retired journalist” I found pointers to Military Reporters and Editors and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

Those are some ideas. Please share any other in a comment, or if you have had experience getting help from a journalist (retired or active) and want to discuss the experience, message me at tomabate_book (at) hotmail.com; it might make a good lesson for others).

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Citizen media exit strategy? In the world of startups and high-finance, “exit strategy” is the term used to describe when the original investors cash out by selling their new business in a merger or stock offering (IPO or initial public offering). Such a sale is also sometimes referred to as a “liquidity event. Well, it’s liquidity time for one citizen media site in inland California’s. Poynter Online reports that the McClatchy newspaper chain has purchased FresnoFamous.com from its founder, 26-year-old Jarah Euston, and a look-alike site, Modesto Famous (not clear on whether Euston founded both and what price they fetched.) Both sites are heavy on the photos, light on the words and focused on how to have fun.

There was apparently some wailing and gnashing of teeth in Fresno when the sale became public, to which Euston replied:

“To those who want to say goodbye to Famous because it is no longer owned by me (even though I’ll be sticking around), I suppose I should be flattered that you’ve allowed me to be your capitalist overlord. This venture has always been a for-profit business. Our business is creating online platforms for community; without the community there is no business. Transferring ownership is what I feel will serve this community best. It will allow it to grow, and allow it to evolve positively. And if anything happens that the community doesn’t like, I trust you’ll let us all know!”