here is much being written about the pluses and minuses of citizen journalism and its influence on professional news gathering, but there’s nothing like a report from the trenches. An excellent example is Hartsville Today, a joint effort by the Hartsville Messenger and the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications, in collaboration with a grant from the Knight Foundation. Over the past year, the website has begun featuring articles posted by the staff of the Messenger, as well as stories and commentary posted by members of the community. The staff learned a lot about recruiting and encouraging citizen journalists; they also learned a lot about adapting to the new dynamics inherent in bottom-up reporting. They’ve taken all that new knowledge and published a “cook book” specifically aimed at small daily and non-daily newspapers. The resulting report, Hartsville Today - The first year of a small-town citizen-journalism site, can be downloaded as a .pdf file. Tips range from soliciting stories to budgeting, ad sales, and technology choices and will be of interest to anyone interested in real-life applications of collaborative reporting.
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