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Community Media News

Recent news stories about community journalism.

Mar. 15: The State of the News Media

Community Journalism
Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, March 15, 2010

J-Lab’s research of nonprofit-funded journalism projects was cited in the Pew Project’s annual State of the News Media report.  In just a few years, more than $141 million has flowed into this arena, J-Lab reports. also served as a resource for the project’s reporting and Oakland Local, a New Voices grantee was also highlighted as a success story.

Mar. 2: Lessons to be Learned by Legacy Media

Legacy Media Could Take An Entrepreneurial Lesson
USC News, March 1, 2010

Following a speech by Jan Schaffer, Executive Director of J-Lab, this article touches on the point that journalists need to reexamine existing habits.  “To be a genuine media entrepreneur, you need to have a comfort level with moving out of old lockstep ways of doing things and moving into what I call the ‘squirm zone,’ ” she said.  You can read the entire speech here.

Feb. 18: New News Site Mirrors Others

A New Non-profit News Site Mirrors Others, February 18, 2010

The New York Times highlights the launch of the non-profit CT Mirror. The site has hired four experienced reporters and is funded with $1.8 million in grants for the first three years of operation.  The piece quotes Dan Kennedy who says the state is an example of how “entrepreneurial online journalists are filling a lot of the holes left by the decline of newspapers.” Recognized as well is the New Haven Independent, CT News Junkie and New Jersey Newsroom.


Jan. 4: 2010 New Media Trends

New Media Trends for 2010, December 23, 2009 recently listed eight new media business trends to look out for in 2010. Number four on their list is “Growth in Hyperlocal and Community Models.” To illustrate their point, Mashable named several community news projects, including Oakland Local, a 2009 New Voices grantee. According to the article, “With many traditional and regional news organization’s facing cutbacks in staff and in some cases closures, local and community-based models and startups will look to fill the gap in content.” These are exactly the kind of new media startups we like to fund. For more information and to apply for a 2010 New Voices grant, visit this site.

Dec. 3: Voice of San Deigo Bans Comments

Voice of San Diego Bans Anonymous Comments, December 3, 2009

The Voice of San Diego has banned anonymous comments on their website. According to the announcement the new policy is designed to, “[C]reate an intelligent, creative and constructive conversation on San Diego’s most pressing issues,” and they want their conversation to be, “civil and smart.” The site has always moderated their comments to keep slanderous or offensive (racism, sexism, vulgarity) content off their servers. With this new policy the Voice will strive to verify the identity of the commenter in the same way they would a letter writer. Additionally, comments are now allowed on their newstories where previously they would not have been allowed. They are excited to see how this new policy plays out on their site.Check out the announcement and leave a comment here.

Oct. 12: Sacramento Citizen Journalism Contest

The Sacramento Press Announces Citizen Journalist Contest, October 12, 2009

The Sacramento Press, a Web site with a hyperlocal focus, is encouraging citizens to commit acts of journalism in their First Pro-Am Citizen Journalism Contest. The goal of the contest is to engage users and readers and encourage participation with the growing site. The contest organizers urge participants to think small. “The blighted vacant lot on your street, the business person you patronize, the leader you admire, the trend you abhor, the community group you support, the artist living above you, the band rehearsing next door.” Prizes are listed on the contest page.

Sep. 10: users can benefit from new association users can benefit from new association, September 1, 2009’s Parker, Colorado branch reports on the new National Association of Citizen Journalists. Launched September 1, the NACJ helps educate gumshoe and experienced reporters on who write about their communities. The founder Ronald D. Ross qualifies citizen journalists as, “...a seventh grader who likes to write about science, a mom who wants to write about her kid’s sporting events, or even government officials or employees who want to enlighten and inform the public they serve.”  The NACJ offers online seminars and homework assignments to help participants improve their reporting. The basic level is free and, among other things, subscribes users to a monthly e-zine keeping them apprised of happenings in the world of citizen journalism.

Aug. 25: The Value of Rural News

The University of Montana’s online Rural News Network sustains community ties as newspapers close
The Online Journalism Review, August 25, 2009

The Online Journalism Review’s Elizabeth Zwerling reports on the value of the Rural News Network (a 2006 New Voices grantee) following the shuttering of Dutton Dispatch, the paper of record in the small community. The Network has created two online publications: the Dutton County Courier and

Jun. 19: CNN’s iReport Sees Iran Growth

Big Jump in CNN’s Citizen Journalism Reports From Iran
Around the Net in Media, June 19, 2009

MediaPost reported that CNN’s iReport citizen journalism effort saw a large amount of growth from the Iran area after its June elections, both in numbers of submissions and citizen journalists.  More than half of the submissions to iReport over a four-day period were from the Iran area, and more than 3,000 new citizen journalists signed up to submit content.

May. 25: ProPublica calls upon CitJ’s

Citizen journalists called upon to ‘Adopt a Stimulus’
Editors Weblog, May 25, 2009

The investigative non-profit news project ProPublica launched a Web site yesterday that will be used by citizen journalists to report every facet of the stimulus plan. The ProPublica Reporting Network, their mission is on the front page: “The federal government is propping up Wall Street with a massive bailout that will cost the public billions. The government recently signed the largest stimulus bill in history. Making sense of our new—and ever changing—landscape requires piecing together your stories neighborhood-by-neighborhood and state-by-state. That’s where you come in.”

Apr. 14: Seattle Reporters Start Anew

Former P-I journalists launch online news site
The Seattle Times, April 14, 2009

Almost a month after their last printed issue, some reporters from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer have launched their own nonprofit news site. Though the P-I continues as a Web-only publication, a small group of reporters, editors and photographers have said they intend to contribute to the new Seattle PostGlobe. The site expects to rely on reader contributions and paid advertising.

Apr. 13: Hyperlocal Web Sites Delivering

‘Hyperlocal’ Web Sites Deliver News Without Newspapers
New York Times, April 13, 2009

As newspapers suffer and the presses slow down, many communities are turning to new Web sites for local coverage. Some, including and, allow citizens to take a look at their area at a near microscopic view. This narrow focus is appealing to advertisers, but the trick is putting up reliable content quickly in order to keep readers interested.

Apr. 13: CitJ at The Washington Times

Times embraces return of ‘citizen journalism’
The Washington Times, April 13, 2009

The Washington Times’ A-section is about to get another page thicker as they begin to publish contributions from citizen journalists. Each day will be divided into different subjects: academia on Monday, the Maryland and Virginia suburbs on Tuesday, the District on Wednesday, local military bases on Thursday, faith communities on Friday and the charitable and the public service community on Sunday.

Feb. 27: NY Times & Citizen Journalism

‘New York Times’ to Launch Local Citizen Journalism Sites
Editor & Publisher, Feb. 27, 2009

The New York Times is jumping on the citizen journalism bandwagon by launching two locally-focused Web sites dedicated to three communities in New Jersey—Maplewood, South Orange and Millburn—and two Brooklyn neighborhoods, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. Times staffers have been recruited to edit and oversee the sites.

Feb. 10: CCJIG Q&A with Leonard Witt

“I want conversation, I want collective intelligence, but I also want sound journalism.”
Civic & Citizen Journalism Interest Group, Feb. 10, 2009

A Q&A interview between Civic & Citizen Journalism Interest Group chair Nikhil Moro and Leonard Witt, a veteran of the public journalism movement who recently received a multi-year gift totaling $1.5 million from New York’s Harnisch Foundation to start a Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University.

Jan. 4: Hyperlocal Sites to Boom

Hyperlocal Websites will Boom in 2009 as Community Newspapers Fold
The Inquisitr, Jan. 4, 2009

While there has been some debate over what “hyperlocal” actually means and encompasses, there is no denying that there is a demand for community news. Many towns and small villages have felt neglected by the large metro daily newspapers in their area. Small community newspapers have filled that void in the past, but The Inquisitr predicts that in 2009 we will see those small papers fold in record numbers, giving way to Web sites with a concentrated local focus.

Nov. 11: Seeing Spots

Spot.Us Launches Crowd-Funded Journalism Project
Wired, Nov. 10, 2008, a project of David Cohn, winner of a two-year grant in the Knight Foundation News Challenge, officially launches Monday with hopes to offer a new buesiness model for media: community-funded journalism. “Anyone can submit a story tip for something they’d like to see investigated, and any reporter can submit a story pitch, which they will investigate once funding is complete.  The final product is then available for free to any publication.” Cohn’s non-profit, open-source project will operate in San Fransisco for the time being, and, if successful, will be expanded elsewhere.

Spot.Us - Community Funded Reporting Intro from Digidave on Vimeo.

Oct. 31: Consistency in Grassroots Reporting

The state of independent local online news, part 4: Seeking consistency from grassroots reporting, Oct. 30, 2008

David Westphal’s final day of OJR’s week-long look at the state of independent local online news start-ups. In this edition, he highlights ChiTown Daily News, a three-year-old news operation focusing on Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. The nonprofit site is staffed almost entirely with citizen journalists. Included in the article is a Q&A with Geoff Dougherty, editor of the ChiTown Daily News.

Oct. 30: A Boom and a Bust for Helium

Helium Raises $17 Million, Lays Off 30 Percent of Employees
TechCrunch, Oct. 27, 2008

Even companies making money are slashing jobs. Just days after raising $17 million in revenue from various sources, start-up Helium laid off 30 percent (or 18 people) of its employees. Helium is a “citizen journalism outlet offering a platform for writers to write articles on topics about which they are knowledgeable.”

Oct. 30: Citizen Media Monitors Voting

Casting a Ballot, and a Wary Eye
New York Times, Oct. 26, 2008

Laws in some states prevent citizens from taking photos or video while voting or at a polling place. However, because of the ease of technology now (tiny video cameras, cell phone cameras), people are going to do it anyway. And they’re going to publish those videos and photos for everyone in the world to see. YouTube has launched its own Video the Vote project, where they intend to make the “largest library of Election Day experiences, ever.” In addition, two wikis exist for voters to help document problems with voting: the Voter Suppression Wiki and the Election Protection Wiki.

Oct. 28: Bluffton Today to Charge

Bluffton, SC daily paper will no longer be free Romenesko, Oct. 28, 2008

In an effort to cover the escalating cost of printing, popular South Carolina citizen media outlet Bluffton Today will begin charging 25 cents for hard copies of its daily newspaper (75 cents on Sundays). The change will take effect on Dec. 1, 2008.

Oct. 26: OJR Looks at Online Start-Ups

OJR launches week-long look at the state of local online news start-ups
Online Journalism Review, Oct. 27, 2008

In the hunt for the new model for journalism, one can’t help but turn their attention to the cropping up of more and more “hyperlocal” news blogs. All across the country these sites are forming, bringing together formally trained journalists and concerned members of the community. Today, the Online Journalism Review starts a week-long look at where these sites are coming from and where they are headed next. Each day’s report will include an article, Q&A and links for extra information.

Oct. 15: Election Day with PBS & YouTube

PBS, YouTube Team On Election Day Project
Online Media Daily, Oct. 15, 2008

YouTube and PBS are teaming up to provide coverage of Election Day experiences. The Video Your Vote channel on YouTube plans to collect thousands of videos taken at polling places around the United States to create an online library of voting experience. In addition, PBS and YouTube will also distribute 1,000 camcorders to nonprofit groups and local PBS stations for use in the project.

Oct. 3: False Report on Apple’s Jobs

False Jobs heart attack post highlights perils of citizen journalism, Oct. 3, 2008

When a false report by a citizen journalist was released on CNN’s iReport, it prompted a temporary 10% drop in Apple’s stock and caused the media to wonder about what ethical standards should be applied to user generated content. It turns out the reason people took the report as valid was because CNN’s name was attached to it.

Oct. 2: Citizen Journalism in Africa

Namibia: What is Citizen Journalism?, Oct. 2, 2008

An opinion article published in the Namibian lays out what it means to be a citizen journalist in Africa. It also discusses what citizens in Zimbabwe did in March 2008 when the election results were stalled. Thousands of SMS messages were sent out, mocking Mugabe and his failed election. The article draws the line between a citizen journalist and a professional journalist, too.

“Africans, especially Namibians, cannot afford to be left behind by new media technology. The reality is if the media are not telling the stories from the citizens’ point of view, it will result in citizens in telling their own stories.”

Sep. 22: CBS Opens Arms to User Content

CBS Moves Further Into Citizen Journalism with “EyeMobile” for iPhone, Sept. 22, 2008

CBS is the first of the “big three” broadcasters to accept and encourage user-generated content under their umbrella. Today they launch EyeMobile for iPhone, allowing users to submit photos, video, and stories to its citizen journalism site, CBSEyeMobile. According to Mashable, the site is very You-Tube-esque, allowing users to browse photos and videos by most recent, most viewed, and most commented. The site also allows users to copy and paste code to embed photos and videos elsewhere.

CBS has not released information about whether or not the citizen-reported stories will become a part of their regular broadcasts. All the tools are now at their disposal, it’s just a matter of how much CBS wants to show off its user generated content.

Sep. 18: Reframing News Challenges Media

Reframing news to focus on strengths challenges established media
Axiom News, Sept. 15, 2008

Journalists should take a look at their citizen media counterparts for ideas on how to cover events.’s Jennifer Higgs’ article explores why traditional media organizations are challenged to move towards a solutions-based approach to coverage. 

Sep. 15: Letter on Palin Launches Wasilla Resident into the Spotlight

Kilkenny on Palin: Citizen Journalism Success
Poynter, Sept. 15, 2008

One week after Wasilla resident Anne Kilkenny sent out an e-mail about newly appointed Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, there were over 3,000 Google results for Kilkenny and her email. Jon Greenberg’s blog on Poynter outlines in detail how and why Kilkenny became so popular so fast. He said, “This is another moment that proves the Internet’s power to carry a message from a very small town to the entire world.”

Greenberg points out that newsrooms can learn a lot from Kilkenny’s example and that citizen reporting offer a huge opportunity if journalists can seize upon it. “If newsrooms pull this off, they will establish a new social contract between themselves and the public—a new social contract that can breathe new life into the news we all rely on,” said Greenberg.

Sep. 12: Purple States TV Reports on Election

Purple States TV Partners with to Produce Citizen-powered Video Coverage
PurpleStatesTV, Sept. 12, 2008

Purple States TV, an innovator in short broadcast-quality news video and interactive programming, announced that it partnered with to produce a documentary series that captures the run-up to the Presidential Election through the eyes of ordinary citizens. Purple States TV will be following five diverse citizens who will travel around the country to report on the 2008 election.

“The Purple States video series will showcase citizen journalism at its best,” said Eric Pianin, Politics Editor at “Our readers and viewers will have the unique opportunity to hear from well informed and highly motivated citizens who are being sent out on the campaign trail to ask tough questions about the economy, education, national security and race and then demand straight answers from the presidential candidates and their advocates.”

Sep. 5: YouTube Starts CitJ Contest

YouTube Encourages Citizen Journalism with New Contest
YouTube, Sept. 5, 2008
YouTube, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, presents Project: Report, a journalism contest for non-professional, aspiring journalists to tell stories that might not otherwise be covered by traditional media. Winners of each round will receive tech prizes, including video cameras and laptop computers. Entries will be judged by a panel of journalists from the Pulitzer Center. More details can be found on the Project: Report’s Web site.

Aug. 21: AllVoices Will Pay Citizen Journalists goes all in: Commits to pay citizen journalists
The Editors Weblog, Aug. 21, 2008 launches a new initiative which will pay citizen journalists $1000 for articles that get 100,000 page views and $100,000 to those that gather a million page views. The site’s founder Amra Tareen said, “I really wanted to create a discussion around current news and events, a social networking community where anyone could report from anywhere in the world.”

Aug. 14: Introducing HuffPost Chicago

HuffPost Goes Local: Introducing HuffPost Chicago
The Huffington Post, Aug. 14, 2008

Ariana Huffington’s hugely popular political blog, The Huffington Post, is branching off with hyperlocal sites for which bloggers will create content. The first of these sites will be covering Chicago. “HuffPost Chicago is part local news source, part resource guide, and part virtual soap box—featuring a collection of bloggers who know and love Chicago, and are looking to share their takes on everything from the Cubs to City Hall to the hot new local band to the best place for Greek food.”

Aug. 11: YouTube Journalism Contest Announced

YouTube Citizen News: Heads-Up
YouTube Aug. 11, 2008
In preparation of their new journalism program being launched this September, YouTube is hosting a contest for aspiring reporters. The first part of the contest is to create a video profile of someone that user’s would find compelling. The details of the contest are included in their introduction video.

Aug. 5: In Place of C-Span

US: Congressman acts as a citizen journalist, streaming video from discussions after House adjourned
The Editors Weblog, Aug. 5, 2008

When the C-Span cameras stopped rolling in the House on Aug. 1, Congressman John Culberson kept the footage going using only his cell phone. He streamed video to the web via Qik and provided text updates through Twitter. The New York Times reported Culberson, “acted as a citizen journalist covering the proceedings, albeit one with clear partisan intentions.”

Jul. 28: MSNBC’s Amateur Political Correspondents

Citizen journalists make new inroads into political reporting
The Christian Science Monitor, July 28, 2008
The newest reporter on the scene of the Democratic National Convention could be an accordion-playing college sophomore from Brandeis University. In a contest sponsored by, NBC News and MySpace, a citizen journalist will win a chance to cover the convention in exchange for food, lodging and travel, but no pay.

Jul. 23: OffTheBus Going Strong

Off the Bus, but Growing Thousands Strong
The New York Times, July 23, 2008
_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin, the online citizen-journalism block of the Huffington Post, has expanded since its launch date one year ago. Their newest section, “Special Ops,” allows volunteers to try their hand at investigative reporting. “We aren’t trying to substitute for other kinds of coverage,” said Amanda Michel. “But by making use of the Web and a networked citizenry, we’re trying to identify opportunities for better reporting.”

Jul. 11: Truemors Acquired by NowPublic

Citizen Journalism: NowPublic Acquires Truemors
MediaPost, July 11, 2008
?fa=Articles.san&s=86416&Nid=44900&p=922795, a “crowd sourced” news network, recently acquired Truemors, a rumor Web site.  NowPublic provides tools for users to write their own stories, upload their own photos or submit a story from somewhere else on the web. The acquisition will expand Vancouver-based NowPublic’s news coverage.

Jul. 9: WTSP to Hire 20 Citizen Journalists

WTSP-Ch. 10 seeking 20 citizen journalists to help gather news,  July 9, 2008
St. Petersburg CBS affiliate, WTSP, is asking viewers to apply for one of 20 spots in a new citizen journalism program.  The program will not only train the group to use handheld video cameras to shoot footage, but also offers community involvement. Citizen journalists would be paid $20 per clip and given the option of keeping the camera after a year.

Jun. 28: Citizen Media on Public Healthir s

Public Health Projects to Use Citizen Media to Empower Community Voices
Rising Voices, June 28, 2008

Six grantees from around the world will receive help from Rising Voices and Open Society Institute’s Health Media Initiative. The grantees are all citizen media outreach programs focused on public health, hoping to train both citizen journalists and nurses to solve the problem and bring awareness to their specific issues.

Jun. 9: OJR: LoudounExtra’s Oversights

It’s a lo-o-o-ong way from Lawrence, Kan., to Loudoun County, Va.
Online Journalism Review, June 9, 2008
With Rob Curley having left The Washington Post—and his big hyperlocal project,—for the Las Vegas Sun, OJR’s Tom Grubisich looked for what went wrong with the Loudoun County, Va., site. What he found was a lack of ability to bring the “Big-J” style to Loudoun’s many small, more rural towns.

May. 12: Disney Park Goers Share Info

US: Cit-J lessons from Disney World
The Editors Weblog, May 12, 2008 combines Microsoft’s Virtual Earth map and Twitter to allow visitors to Disney parks to upload locations, photos, navigation tips and more, proving that it is getting easier to participate in citizen journalism.

May. 12: Newmark Buys into CitMedia

Craig Newmark pursues politics and citizen journalism
Muckety, May 12, 2008

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, participates in extracurricular activities including politics and citizen journalism. Newmark sits on many advisory boards and authors his own blog.

May. 5: No Business Model, No Site

CitJ photo site Skoeps closes, no business model
The Editors Weblog, May 5, 2008

Owners of the Dutch citizen photojournalism website, Skoeps, announced Friday they will be shutting down. The news was met with mixed reactions. Is citizen media here to stay or not?

Apr. 1: Cit Journalists on the Scene

No Casual Operation: Inside a Citizen Journalism Newsroom
Poynter Online, April 1, 2008
The Chi-Town Daily News has developed a system of recruiting, training and managing citizen journalists in Chicago’s neighborhoods in a way that enables them to have reporters on the scene of breaking news as it happens.

Feb. 29: Cit Media Speaks Spanish

Citizen Journalism Spreads in Spanish-Speaking World
MediaShift, Feb. 29, 2008
Citizen Journalism is cropping up in “the third most commonly used tongue on the Internet.” Spanish-based citizen media sites are growing in places like Argentina with, Bolivia with and Peru with Gua 3.0, to name a few.

Feb. 26: Citizen Photogs: ‘Right Place, Right Time’

The Rise of the ‘Citizen Paparazzi’
The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 26, 2008
Professional photographers bump elbows with amateurs on the red carpet and struggle to make $50 on photos that used to draw a couple hundred dollars due to the rise of ‘right place, right time,’ citizen paparazzi.

Feb. 12: Nonprofit Journalism Filling Gaps

Nonprofit journalism on the rise, Feb. 12, 2008
Nonprofit newspapers, both online and in print, spring to cover the gaps that downsizing newsrooms have left behind. Though they have a smaller circulation, these non-profits remain serious in emphasizing “what people need to know the most.”

Feb. 11: CNN’s iReport to Expand

Report: CNN citizen journalism site close to launch
The Social-, Feb. 11, 2008
CNN’s iReport will expand to a new Web site to include user submitted videos, photos and news. This site’s content will be moderated after submission, unlike iReport whose content is pre-selected for posting.

Feb. 11: National Press Club Recruits Citizen Journalists

National Press Club targets citizen journalists
Tech News Blog-, Feb. 11, 2008
The National Press Club is expected to announce a deal with to recruit citizen journalists as new online-members. Applicants will be judged by a committee like traditional journalists.

Jan. 28: The Year of Citizen Journalism

What’s in store for citizen journalism in 2008?
Editors Weblog, New Media, Jan. 28, 2008
After breaking new ground in 2007, citizen journalism promises to continue to evolve in 2008, according to GroundReport. Citizen Media will look to traditional media as well as Web 2.0 to become organized and “break out of the pack.”