Filling the News Gap in Cambridge and Beyond: Citizen Journalism and Grassroots Media

Filling the News Gap in Cambridge and Beyond: Citizen Journalism and Grassroots Media

This half-day forum, held on May 4, 2013 explored the quickly expanding world of citizen journalism: how technology is fueling its growth, and how that growth is changing the way we see our world, enact change, and disseminate the news. Click on each image to watch the video.

Welcome and Keynote Address

CCTV Executive Director Susan Fleischmann delivers a welcome address and Josh Stearns, the Journalism and Public Media Campaign Director of Free Press, delivers a keynote address.

Seminar 1: Oases in the News Desert

Cambridge, which has no daily newspaper nor local commercial radio and television, is a news desert. But even a desert has oases. Meet the journalists who support the islands of information that the information thirsty turn to for sustenance. We'll talk about what it's like to cover Cambridge, the challenges and the rewards, and what happens to a city without a critical mass of press coverage.

Seminar 2: Newsgathering and the Law: Hot Topics for Citizen Journalists in Massachusetts

Regardless of whether you are reporting on a City Council meeting or a national crisis, your ability as a journalist to report the news depends on your ability to gather information. State and federal laws provide tools and protections on which reporters can rely in collecting the facts on which their reporting is based -- enhancing access to government records, shielding from disclosure certain communications between journalists and their sources, and ensuring that journalists can record the acts of public officials in public places. But, these tools and protections are subject to limitations that can frustrate newsgatherers and impede their ability to practice their craft. This session will explore some of the important protections available to citizen journalists and others in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the hurdles that reporters face as they engage in newsgathering activities.

Seminar 3: The Most Experimental Storytellers: Citizen Journalists

This discussion features three citizen reporters from the West Coast, Midwest and East Coast. CB Smith-Dahl of Oakland Local and David Schalliol from Gapers Block will share how citizen journalism got their attention, and how they decide which free tools are most effective for storytelling—from demolished landmarks to young black gay men with HIV/AIDS. Laura Amico will discuss her work with Homicide Watch-- a community-driven reporting project that covers every murder in the District of Columbia.

Seminar 4: Covering Chaos

When shots rang out at MIT late on April 18th, events in Cambridge were covered in ways that have few precedents. Dan Kennedy, Professor of Journalism at Northeastern and author of "Wired City: Reimagining Journalism and Civic Life in the Post-Newspaper Age" will moderate a discussion among some of the non-traditional journalists who jumped to cover unfolding events.