Sunday, July 06, 2008

Reflections on Citizen Journalism Academy

I am a writer. I am a blogger. I take photos and videos when I can. If it should happen that one day I am the only person around with a camera and record a news event then yeah, technically, I would become a journalist.

For the record, I do not consider myself to be a journalist. I wanted to be one when I was a kid. I was discourage from pursuing that as a career path. Or maybe I was distracted by something else.

There are intersections that bloggers, journalists and writers share common ground. I know I made a bunch of journalists heaved up a bunch of vile but there you go. Don't hate the player, hate the game.

I could write full sentences about how some sections of the journalism industry abdicated their duties for years and that is why they are the in the fix they are in at the moment.

How some so-called journalists dive into blogs, YouTube and Flickr to harvest content and pretend they generated the stories without any sort of attribution or compensation.

Some journalists blame bloggers/vloggers for the decline in their industry. Some blame that pesky Internet. Others think that all bloggers are just sputtering our inner most thoughts or ripping off their content.

We have to find ways of communicating and getting along. So I took the opportunity to attend the Society of Professional Journalism's Citizen Journalism Academy. I wasn't sure it was going to just another hate-fest on bloggers.

It was an introduction to some of the concepts that folks ought to be aware of if they want to protect themselves and their writing. Minus the fact I got really lost in a part of Los Angeles where you do not want to get lost (I'm talking major skeezy neighborhood) it was a good day.

The topics included ethics, freedom of information, a media law primer, reporting and writing basics and sharing hardware and software tools to make it easier to do the job. Overall, they did a good job with the time constraints.

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