Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Students Chime in on Community Journalism

I'm teaching a journalism survey class for high school students in the summer Upward Bound program at Missouri State University. Our class is going to focus on basic news writing, the basic elements of what makes something news, media ethics and community journalism.

Fifteen minutes before the end of our first class, I asked the students to write an essay answer responding to this question: "What Does Community Journalism Mean to You?"

Here are portions of some of the better responses.

"Community journalism is when journalists who live in the community also write about what goes on in that community. These journalists would be better at writing about the community because they live in the community. They know what goes on and what is happening in their community so they are better able to write about it. They also know how the community is effected making what they write more understandable and agreeable. To me, community journalism would also mean that I would know that this person/journalist is more in the know than someone who is from a media outlet from outside the area so it means I would also trust their reporting more." -- Darla Vance

"Community journalism is when the community is involved in what local journalists are doing. It means the journalist is getting involved in what is happening around them. It means the citizens are talking about what is going on and trying to change things, or trying to fix the problems in the community. Community journalism means helping each other when people need help. Making us be better people and a better community. That is what community journalism does, it shows the problem in the community and then tries hard to get the problem fixed. We as a community can do that, we just need people to tell us what is going on or where the needs are in the community and help us find ways to fix it." -- Jessica Light

"Community journalism is a way of writing about local news and issues that grabs a person's attention. When you are writing in a local newspaper most readers are interested in what is happening right in the local community. This type of local reporting also helps to put local issues in perspective." -- Patty Ruedlinger

"From the perspective of an amateur journalist, community journalism is simply reporting on the community. It may involve using local opinions or local writers or even citizen journalists." -- Brooke Iler

"Community journalism refers to the covering of stories and events that happen in the immediate community of people." -- Sam Cunningham

You can learn more about how I would define community journalism by reading the publication I have online entitled, "What is Community Journalism." It can be found at


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