Friday, March 12, 2010

ICOG Offers Citizen Journalism Boot Camp

Want to start your own blog? Already have a blog, but want to know what laws impact it? Want to learn how to get hold of public records? Or, are you interested in learning some of the tricks of the trade of being a journalist? On Saturday, March 20, the Indiana Coalition for Open Government is offering a one day Citizen Journalism Boot Camp for folks just like you. Click here to register.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am proud to have been invited to participate on the blog panel, and humbled by the calibre of folks who will be presenting at this event. I am not being paid to participate, although I can attend the whole day's events without paying the fee.

ICOG are the good folks who fight for improved laws for public access to both records and meetings, and for public input into the decisions made by the government. In the side panel of this blog, I keep a link to thier website under "Agents of Change". I also keep a link to their 'make your own' open records request letter.

The Boot Camp is being held on the IUPUI campus and does cost $35 ($20 if you are either a student or an ICOG member), but you get lunch and a one year membership in ICOG along with being able to attend the workshops all day.

Here's how they describe the events of the day:
If you are a neighborhood leader, citizen activist, blogger or would-be blogger, ICOG's Citizen Journalism Boot Camp can help you become a stronger citizen journalist or learn the essentials on how to become one.

The event, which highlights ICOG’s participation in national Sunshine Week, will feature workshops on how to gain access to public information and gather other information as a reporter, understanding the technology you will need to use, and how to set up a blog and keep your readers informed effectively. Session leaders will include veteran bloggers, attorneys and journalists who will walk you through the nuts and bolts of setting yourself up to become your own community watchdog.

Registration fee is $35 for the general public and $20 for students and ICOG members. The fee includes morning coffee, lunch and a complimentary one-year membership to ICOG, a $25 value itself.

Keynote speaker during the lunch will be Jan Schaffer, executive director of J Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, one of the nation’s leading thinkers in the journalism reform movement. J-Lab administers the Knight Citizen News Network (http://www.kcnn/.org) and other initiatives.

Speakers will include members of The Indianapolis Star’s Starwatch investigative team, who will demonstrate how to generate story ideas, develop sources and collect documents and data that reporters can use to quickly produce news relevant to their communities.

Brant Houston will lead discussion on basic research and backgrounding, giving special attention to using online sources for information. Houston is the former executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors. He now holds the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting and teaches investigative and advanced reporting in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois College of Media.

John Strauss, a former Indianapolis Star reporter and columnist who is now on the journalism faculty at Ball State University, will demonstrate easy-to-use multimedia tools that can turn anyone into a backpack journalist.

Local blogging expert Erik Deckers will show you how to start a blog in just minutes using readily available online tools. He will be joined by two bloggers who will offer advice on how to get material for your blog and keep the information flowing.

Also, a panel of lawyers will talk about challenges and pitfalls of blogging, strategies for staying on the right side of the law, and the current state of affairs regarding access issues.

Here is the complete schedule for the day:
The Citizen Journalism Boot Camp program has a full day of workshops to help you improve as a citizen journalist or to get started as one.

8:30-9 a.m. – Registration and coffee.
9-10 a.m. – Members of The Indianapolis Star’s Starwatch investigative team share tips of the reporter’s trade in a roundtable discussion. Participants: Mark Alesia, Tim Evans, Heather Gillers, Alvie Lindsay.
10-10:45 a.m. – Brant Houston, former executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors (now holder of the Knight Chair in Investigative Reporting at the University of Illinois), presents a session on information gathering, with discussion on basic research and background and special attention to online sources.
10:45-11 a.m. – Break.
11 a.m.-Noon – John Strauss, former Indianapolis Star journalist and member of Ball State University’s journalism faculty, demonstrates easy-to-use multimedia tools that can turn any citizen activist into a backpack journalist.
Noon-1:30 p.m. – Lunch. Jan Schaffer of the Knight Citizen News Network gives the keynote speech.
1:30-2:30 p.m. – Erik Deckers, vice president of creative services and operations for Pro Blog Service, presents the nuts and bolts of starting a blog.
2:30-3:15 p.m. – Erik is joined by Pat Andrews, neighborhood activist and blogger, and Bil Browning, co-owner of Bilerico Media, for a discussion of their experiences blogging – how to maintain a blog and not get burned out. Audience Q&A.
3:15-3:30 p.m. – Break.
3:30-4:45 p.m. – The Citizen Journalist and the Law. Panel includes Steve Badger of Bose McKinney & Evans, Jan Carroll of Barnes & Thornburg and Dick Goehler of Frost Brown Todd. They will talk about challenges and pitfalls for citizen bloggers, strategies for staying on the right side of the law, and the current state of affairs regarding access issues.

To register for the Boot Camp, click here.

Technology is changing the world for sure. Blogging might be a flash in the pan, or a way to express yourself. It can be anything you want - a Julie & Julia blog, a politics blog, a blog about cars, or a blog just about frogs if that is what interests you. If you think you might want to try your hand at a blog, this Boot Camp could be just what you needed.


Anonymous said...

The world of media certainly has changed and developed into a much more egalitarian medium. Recording Labels are now irrelevant. News worthy events can be captured by anyone with a cell phone and broadcast worldwide via the internet,etc,etc,etc. The internet has leveled the playing field.

And we have blogging.

I've read hundreds of blogs over the years.The majority of them written by folks outside of the traditional media,and that's a good thing.I'm always astounded by the quality of writing coming from ordinary people. That quality (in style,content,information and speed of delivery) is overwhelmingly eclipsing the traditional media, to the point I watch absolutely no television and acquire my news exclusively via the net. Blogs such as this blog create an informative milieu and a vehicle to bounce ideas amongst all involved.

I wonder what this medium will look like in 30 years?

Viva The Revolution!

Had Enough Indy? said...

You are so right. Even TV and print media are having to transition to the internet to survive.