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    Citizen Journalism Anyone?

    A proposal for news gathering on Albany Today
    Dear Albany Today reader:

    Albany received an incredible gift when UC graduate student Linjun Fan decided to set up a news blog about this community for her journalism degree master’s project. AlbanyToday.org became a vehicle for residents to learn about local issues and events. But, alas, Linjun has completed her degree and gone home.

    Since January, I had been helping Linjun when I had time by writing education stories and a few business stories. I felt, and still do, that Albany residents need to know about the decisions and issues affecting their community and I admired the journalism experiment Linjun undertook. But I have had only limited hours to give to Albany Today because my real work must take precedent. That continues to be the case and, as you can see, I file stories only once in a while. Although Linjun in her farewell letter optimistically said I would carry on Albany Today, we had only informally discussed that and I had not yet decided. Now, I have another idea – that WE ALL carry it on.

    What I’m proposing is to make Albany Today a vehicle of “citizen journalism.” In citizen journalism, people from the community file reports and photographs of events they attend or issues they are aware of. You would file them to me at barbgrady@sbcglobal.net or through the “comments” section on AlbanyToday.org under existing posts. I would act as the gatekeeper and editor; blocking any stories that defame another’s character or which are outright advertising or sensationalism. I most especially encourage city officials and school board members to file reports and have invited Albany Mayor Marge Atkinson to do so. I encourage local artists to file photographs.

    Citizen journalism is one of those myriad experimental modes of news gathering that are popping up to replace traditional newspaper reporting. I have mixed thoughts about citizen journalism, but in this case it may be only way that Albany Today can continue.

    So, are you ready? I invite you to comment and to then to send potential posts to me at barbgrady@sbclgobal.net.

    Thanks for your consideration. And a huge Thank You to Linjun for her creative contribution to our town.

    Barbara Grady-Ayer
    barbgrady@sbcglobal.net

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