citizen journalism

Audio Editing Tutorial with Audacity


An audio editing tutorial about the software Audacity made by corps member Brooke Brown-Saracino for her citizen journalism project.

Visit her tutorial online here: Audio Editing Tutorial

Recording and Interviewing Techniques PowerPoint


A PowerPoint about audio recording and interviewing techniques by corps member Brooke Brown-Saracino for her citizen journalism project.

Citizen Journalism Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Abby Wendle
Program Start: 
Project Description: 

Abby will assist in organizing volunteer community journalists to create content t be delivered over our web portal, radio station, and public access TV. In this capacity, she will work closely with allied non-profits - - such as the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods (CAN) to identify and recruit volunteers with some journalism experience to help guide and launch this new effort. Work with these volunteers will include production coordination for a weekly radio public affairs program. She will also assist in grant writing to secure funding to build and create a sustainable community journalism effort.

Project Outcome: 

During her service at MAIN, Abby was responsible for expanding the capacity of the local community radio station WPVM and securing partnerships with community groups in order to create a citizen journalism program through MAIN.

With WPVM Abby partnered with Children First to submit a grant application to help involve kids in making media. The Proposal would create a media literacy program for youth and make short documentaries with station staff. Abby was also involved in coordinating with several other community groups in order to get them better using MAIN’s resources.

As citizen journalism coordinator, Abby had begun work with local groups to raise funds to develop a citizen journalism program.

Media Watch Team Social Media Development

VISTA Name: 
Colleen Kelly
Program Start: 
Project Description: 

- Develop fund raising campaigns
- Develop personalized blogs for Media Watch Team members and citizen journalists
- Assist in the training Media Watch Team members and other staff in absic digital media authoring, such as video blogging
- Create a packaged curriculum for train-the-trainer workshops for digital media creation and facilitate the actual workshops
- Implement a membership system for online resources
- develop relationships with community leaders and organizations for building a strong youth media network in Boston

Project Outcome: 

Organized web resource area and assisted in the production of outreach and PR materials.

Miro in My Community Project Developer

VISTA Name: 
Anne Jonas
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

Miro in My Community (MMC) will create a series of community-based video hubs to connect local creators, public access stations, and the community of viewers. With these new hubs and the relationships that they form, vibrant local communities of video can flourish. Quite simply, we can create an active, citizen-driven, online television world for individual cities and towns.

A VISTA member could be instrumental in advancing this project. We need an individual who is both technically aware (though not necessarily a programmer) and interested in community building. The VISTA member will lead outreach to local access and public television stations in Massachusetts and around the country. The member will help us develop and deploy training manuals and will work with partner organizations to run training session for local participants.

Goal: To successfully roll out Miro Local TV in communities around Massachusetts and the US, by engaging with partner organizations and creating materials and workshops.

Project Outcome: 

Anne has been invaluable to PCF and has helped us grow as an organization. She, with support from myself as well as Nick Reville, has taken Miro Community from an early-stage project to a fully-fledged platform that is serving many communities.

Anne is beginning to work on making Miro Community a self-sustaining pillar in PCF’s arsenal. She has began to develop a userbase that will support the project with monthly fees and/or contracts.

Anne has started work on a miro community site that aggregates feminist video content from all over the web. It has began taking a life of its own and has been written up on feminist blogs and in Bitch Magazine.

We have a major piece of infrastructure up and running Thanks to Annie in her second year with PCF — our project, Miro Community, has matured and been picked up by organizations like Stanford, the Ford Foundation, the Pittsburgh Foundation, and many others. She has taken the lead on project management and partnership development, which has helped cement Miro Community as one of PCF’s three major pieces of open source software.

Impact Quote: 

Anne has surpassed our expectations in pretty much every way possible.”

- Dean Jansen, supervisor

Digital Expansion Initiative Program Developer

People's Production House
VISTA Name: 
Kristofer Rios
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

PPH has three major projects: Radio Rootz, which teaches classes in radio journalism and media literacy in public schools; the Community News Production Institute (CNPI), which trains low wage and immigrant workers as radio journalists; and our Digital Expansion Initiative, which works to educate and organize the public around access to digital technology. We build media organizers: media literate youth and workers who can create and demand a media system that works in their interests.

This position is part of the Digital Expansion Initiative. For 2008 to 2009, the CTC Vista participant will
• formalize our Digital Expansion curriculum and conduct educational workshops for community organizations and public school classes throughout New York City;
• work with the Digital Expansion team to analyze data from our surveys and interviews;
• conduct original research into the state of Internet access in New York City and train others to do the same;
• record, edit, and produce radio journalism and train others to do the same;
• review and compile new research and articles related to Internet access and Internet policy.

Project Outcome: 

This year, Kristofer took the lead in developing and formalizing the curriculum for our youth-led policy program, the Digital Expansion Fellowship (DEF). After taking feedback and evaluations from our first DEF summer project, Kristofer redesigned the summer curriculum into a full 8-week summer course for a new round of fellows. The new curriculum is a comprehensive training in media policy research; combing basics in digital journalism and an introduction to policy analysis. This summer the fellows used their newly acquired digital reporting skills to examined mobile broadband and cellphone policy from a community perspective. They produced a news feature looking at how a proposed bill requiring ID for prepaid cellphones would impact low income and immigrant communities. They also produced four cell phone literacy workshops that will be included in a collaborative tool kit project focused on expanding cell phone literacy.

People’s Production House proposed a large community media network project during the second application round of the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program. Our proposal brought together 21 New York City community organizations to imagine a constellation of community media centers across New York that would work as media production centers for a community news outlet. Kristofer was the main outreach organizer for this application. He helped recruit many of the organizations to the project proposal and coordinated a lot of the application process with the groups. While we weren’t awarded our BTOP grant, the organizing provided us with an opportunity to advance our goal of strengthening our community media network. We are taking the momentum from our BTOP organizing to develop a New York City Digital Justice Coalition. Throughout the year, Kristofer also engaged with other community media organizations to share or work, exchange ideas, and collaborate on larger national projects.

One of the goals that Kristofer set for him self was to help us develop workshops and training materials in Spanish. Kristofer lead our first Spanish language community journalism training in his first year as a VISTA and he wanted to take it further by developing media literacy tools that could accompany the trainings. This year Kristofer helped organize the first Spanish language track at the 2010 Allied Media Conference. In developing the Spanish language track, Kristofer engaged some organizations that serve the Spanish speaking in New York, helping to develop Spanish language community reporters.

In addition to the work completed in our project proposal, Kristofer also helped refine our 12-week media community journalism training curriculum. The curriculum needed an upgraded and he assisted with the process. Kristofer also helped strengthen ties to partner organizations through his involvement in organizing the Allied Media Conference and his participation in the Media Action Grassroots Network. Through these conferences and networks, Kristofer has helped facilitate projects on a national scope, including our upcoming Cellphone Literacy Toolkit, which is a collaboration between allies in New Mexico, California, and New York.

Neighborhood News Bureau Community Journalism Project lead

VISTA Name: 
Denise Cheng
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

Our newest project, for which a vista would help us build a sustainable structure, has received initial funding via the The Grand Rapids Community Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The purpose is to establish four Neighborhood News Bureaus (NNB) in the city. The purpose is to increase citizen engagement and to encourage greater flow of meaningful information from and to our urban neighborhoods. The NNB project will give Grand Rapids citizens the opportunity to become citizen reporters with a soon-to-be established online and physical network of neighborhood news bureaus in the urban core. The CMC will give citizen reporters the tools, structure and mediums by which to gather, write and report on local news and events. Reporters will be able to produce news for the web, radio or TV through the use of CMC’s resources. NNBs will be physically located in known neighborhood gathering locations, and each site will be outfitted with video and still cameras, computers, audio recorders and templates plus the connectivity required to “file” stories to the web. Additional production equipment and facilities are available for citizen reporter use through the Community Media Center.

The addition of a CTC VISTA member would provide a much needed staff person to help design and establish sustainable structures for the NNB project. While a Knight grant was indeed awarded to this project, all grants in this cycle were reduced by 40% due to the current economic climate. The VISTA member would help use move forward, as planned and would be a main support person for development of the local NNB locations. The work would include neighborhood outreach, collecting and organizing training materials, doing initial set up and organization of NNB’s and creating materials for use in story management and distribution for later use by editors and news gatherers.

Each bureau will be initially “staffed” with a news team comprised of neighborhood residents and college journalism/communication students. As the projects grow, each will be encouraged to develop its own leadership/advisory board. The VISTA member will help ensure high quality and fairness in the program by establishing a pool of professionals to provide training to participants.

Additionally, VISTA will help establish a structure and methods for collecting and maintaining a neighborhood information “bank” for use by the news bureaus.

Primarily, the Vista will be working on the establishment of the physical neighborhood news bureaus. They will be responsible for helping set up the physical and technical structure and coordinating with an initial corps of trainers to provide training for the neighborhood.

The Vista will work with our core NNB steering group and committees to carry out the the project development plan. Work will include relationship building with potential host sites, arranging for assistance for chosen sites; working with the journalists committee to identify training needs and develop a curriculum and recruit presenters; working with the PR committee to prepare our news bureau community launch activities: utilize social media frameworks to increase interest and connect with potential partners; develop user feedback mechanisms; and will produce user guidelines and other reference pieces to aid in community access and use of the site.

Goal 1: To help the CMC fulfill its mission of “Building Community Through Media” through the development of a Neighborhood News Bureaus.
Goal 2: To help the CMC be an ever more active presence in the Grand Rapids area as a vital resource for free speech and information about what’s happening from the citizen’s point of view.

Project Outcome: 

The primary goal was for Denise to help “design and establish sustainable structures for the” Neighborhood News Bureau project…now called the Rapidian. Denise has done an outstanding job at reaching out to the community to gather input, creatively think through the citizen reporting process and create procedures, structures and partnerships that support those processes. She has organized training materials and events; evaluated and revised methods, and researched other “best practices” bringing those lessons to bear on The Rapdiian project. Denise worked effectively in a team that included a drupal developer, a content coordinator (part time), the design manager and the publisher. As the only person dedicated FULLTIME to the launch and evolution of the project, Denise has taken an inspiring leadership role, allowing us to reach farther into the community and engage new participants.

We have expanded our reach and perceptions of relevance in the community (for the good). Mainstream/traditional media now includes us in discussions; promotes our work and even seeks our input and advice as they look to expand their use of community reporters. We a re currently working on the development of a business model to sustain the work, however, our “user engagement numbers” are significant.

The project was sufficiently open ended enough to allow Denise great creativity to design execution plans. But in addition to The Rapidian proper, she has extended a connection to our community radio station and represents the Rapidian weekly on-air. She has also established a drupal working group in our community.

Citizen Press Corps Website


A website developed by corps member Brooke Brown-Saracino for her project, the Shires Media Citizen Press Corps.

Transmission Project