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Boston Marathon Bombing and Community Journalism

by John on 04/16/2013


Amid the horror of Boston, we saw the new kind of journalism emerging.  Actually, many of us didn’t see it. We WERE it.

I am calling it Community Journalism.

It happened on my Facebook and Twitter pages in the hours after the explosion.  Here’s what we were engaged in.

  • People were at work and not near a TV.  But they had a smart phone or a computer connection.  I received numerous posts thanking us or asking for more information.
  • Many of you following me were researching many sites online gathering information.  Some of you offered tips and links I hadn’t heard of or thought about for info.
  • Many of you were journalistically brilliant.  And you probably didn’t know it.
  • You helped get helpful information to people – still in danger — who were either still in the disaster area or who had family and friends in the area.
  • You cited sources so the chaos of information had some legitimacy and sobriety to it.
  • You didn’t speculate on what, who, or why.  Some of you offered possibilities to why this happened but you never made political comments.
  • You also had compassion for the situation.

This is Community Journalism.

It works hand in hand with Citizen Journalism.  Citizen journalism is really the people who go out and work the stories on their own: bloggers and videographers who get the stories and the video for their websites or to share with us.  Tim Poole is one of those guys.

But Community Journalism is where we come together in a community and share information from many sources; sources that we all couldn’t peruse alone, but we can get together.

This was very similar to what happens in newsrooms – newspaper, radio, and TV.  Journalists sit around a table in a war room like setting and spill what they have.

They have two goals.

  1. They’re trying to protect people from further harm.
  2. They’re searching for the truth.  But they don’t really know the truth at that moment.  So, they throw down on the table for all to see all the pieces of the puzzle.  Most times, there are pieces missing.  However, there is a partial picture that emerges and journalists allow the audience/readers make a decision.

You guys were doing this.

And this has been the goal of Informed Not Inflamed.  Remember the core of my website and my book. 

  • The most important journalist in your life is YOU.  Using journalism skills isn’t just good for news gathering; it’s being responsible as a citizen of the US.
  • The media is biased.  Get over it.  The media is there to make money first; inform us second.  We can find out for ourselves.
  • If you sift through enough of the information delivered by the bias-tainted media, the truth – or some semblance of the truth – will emerge.

But here’s a shout-out to the mainstream media.

They do breaking news fabulously.  We saw it yesterday.  They gave us the initial information we needed to make sense of it.  So we still need them.

Soon, I will have an upgraded platform on Informed Not Inflamed to expedite this form of Community Journalism.  It will be a TV station online with live streaming capabilities.

  • It will allow you to help me coordinate what is happening in big events while also using the Informed Not Inflamed guidelines. 
  • It will also allow us to reach more people.
  • It will also allow people who feel we’re intruding on them and their social networking pages to turn us off.

As always, give me your feedback.

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