Citizen Journalism gains status at the Washington Times, meanwhile more big cuts at the big publishers

The Washington Times promotes the  return of citizen journalism. 

 

Now this is what is called freedom of speech. Is this freedom the result of reality shows and especially America Idol? After all, rank amateurs turn out to be very good singers. 

At the same time, the cuts and shutdowns continue.

The Chicago Tribune plans to cut another 20% of its newsroom staff in yet another bid to reduce expenses amid continuing advertising declines.

Staffers were told of the impending layoffs last week, according to three people who attended a meeting on the topic. The cuts will take place over the next several weeks, the sources said.

The expected cuts are the latest attempt to reduce expenses at the paper, whose parent Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in December.

The Washington Times’ news gathering is about to become a whole lot bigger as the newspaper launches one full print page per day of news stories reported and written by average citizens in local communities. The citizen journalism project, set to debut Monday,(today) is a new take on a traditional idea.

Community-driven news has been a long mainstay in American newspapers. The Times’ version ramps up the intensity and the outreach, focusing on six communities within the larger Washington area: 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. The citizen journalists’ work will be showcased in the A-section as an additional page of Metro coverage and will provide a natural complement to the work of the newspaper’s reporters and editors. “We know there are many issues and communities we have not been able to fully cover within the confines of a newsroom budget, and we are excited to empower citizens within those communities to provide us news that will interest all our readers, ” Executive Editor John Solomon said. “While we are expanding our reach through this project, we will not be diminishing our editorial quality. Citizen stories must meet the same rigorous standards for accuracy, precision, fairness, balance and ethics as those written by our newsroom staff,” Mr. Solomon said. Each citizen journalist is provided a set of rules for their reporting and newswriting, as well as copies of The Times’ policies governing ethics, anonymous sources and other journalistic standards. While the project calls for some first-rate news wranglers, The Times also is tapping into some of its own editorial talent known for its savvy – and heart. Former Editorial Page Editor Deborah Simmons, a veteran newswoman with close ties to the local community, is supervising the coverage for the District, the suburbs, academia, faith and the charitable communities. Longtime Times columnist Adrienne Washington, a staple on local TV and radio, also will be a part of the outreach and the editing. “Deb and Adrienne are pillars within the Washington community and their journalistic prowess, community ties and passion for news are perfectly suited for this project,” Mr. Solomon said. “This is a groundbreaking project, and I’m excited to be on the launching pad. Readers know our bylines. Now we’re flipping the script.” Grace Vuoto, editor of The Times’ new Web property BaseNews.com, will edit the Thursday citizen journalism page on military base news. “Grace is leading the way in providing citizen reports from every military base in the world through BaseNews.com, and the Thursday page is an ideal extension,” Mr. Solomon said. The idea of community journalism in a print format is actually a new take on an old tradition, said Al Tomkins, a media analyst with the Poynter Institute. “Rural and county newspapers, community weeklies – they always had space devoted to the community news, written by someone local. That kind of coverage was and still is incredibly popular,” Mr. Tomkins said. “It takes its inspiration from a simpler time. But it remains an effective way to give a voice to the voiceless.” The new citizen journalism page is one of several changes launched in the past few weeks in The Times’ print edition. By Jennifer Harper | Monday, April 13, 2009

Will the rabble be able to follow the AP stylebook? (I know that is going through many of the “professionals’ minds.”

26 thoughts on “Citizen Journalism gains status at the Washington Times, meanwhile more big cuts at the big publishers

  1. No more massive dumping of circulation at Marriott hotels.

    Marriott’s move will hurt some newspapers , but the company expects it will be good for the environment — something that many corporations are touting to gain a competitive edge and show their commitment to a “greener” world.

    “We were seeing a lot of unused papers and thought of the waste,” Marriott spokeswoman Stephanie Hampton said. “We also saw a shift in customer demand and expectations — 25 percent of them didn’t read the hard copy any more, according to our preliminary studies.”

    Based on preliminary data, the company projects that it will avoid 10,350 tons of carbon emissions.

  2. Mick:
    This is an excellent article – one of many. I confess I have been away too long, not stopping by enough – not since the election, when you and my nemesis, Ken Renner, guest writer from the political left bantered about John McCain, with some of my comments in between.
    I like your “Citizen Journalism Today” page, and, of course, your theme and blog set up.
    Your insight and experience, as well as personal interest in journalism and the media is shown well here and a major contribution to Citizen Journalism.
    You and this blog are examples of how Citizen Journalism works, once just a small beginning with the help of the advent of blogging, and now a reputable source for varied subject material.
    I commend you and what you do here, an important link at LPJ, and I am glad that a while back we happened to meet in cyberspace. The people we meet in life, directly or indirectly, like a ship passing in the night, always have some impact on our life experiences and learning.
    Keep up the good work. You are an asset to the world of Citizen Journalism.
    Best Regards …

  3. Pingback: From My Desk - Citizen Journalism and Tax Day - April 15th 2009 « Lighthouse Patriot Journal

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