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Series aims to build network of Citizen Journalists

The Citizens Campaign announced today a three-part series of trainings to empower New Jersey residents with the skills and know-how to be community reporters. The series will prepare residents to be the eyes and ears in their community – both in good times and bad – so that citizens can help drive community decisions.  

In the days and weeks following Superstorm Sandy, we learned that having access to timely and relevant information is critical. As our communities rebuild and prepare for future storms and emergencies, it is clear that communication is the key ingredient for success.  Part of the series will also be showcasing best practices in municipal emergency communications, and what policies citizens should be looking for in their own community.

“We are hosting this series to make sure that our citizens’ voices are included in the current recovery process, as well as part of the solution next time any emergency hits any of our hometowns,” said The Citizens Campaign’s Communication Director Heather Taylor.  “By combining traditional journalism techniques with innovative online tools, citizens can be forces for positive change and drive the conversation for building stronger and safer communities.”

The first training will be on October 5th from 9am-1pm at Ocean County College.  The event, "Information Matters:Getting the Real Story” is designed to teach the average person the tools of the trade from professional journalists. Co-sponsored with WHYY and Ocean County College, the session will offer four breakouts geared towards traditional reporting, including: Fact Finding & Reporting, Newswriting, Surveying the Community, and Capturing the Perfect Shot (i.e. photojournalism).  

The second training will be on November 2nd from 9am-1pm at Monmouth University. The event, “It Takes a Village” is focused on empowering citizens to go online and share news.  Co-sponsored by the New Jersey News Commons at Montclair State University and Monmouth University, the training will cover a wide array of innovative tools that allow anyone to go online and get published. Break out sessions include:  How to set up a Blog, Crowdsourcing News, Mapping out a Story, and Capturing the Perfect Shot.

The final training will be on November 16th from 9am -1pm at Middlesex County College. The event “Eyewitness Reports: Are we ready or not?” will teach attendees how to research their town and identify what is working and what needs to be improved for emergency communications and management. This event is co-sponsored by WNYC and Middlesex County College.  Break out sessions include: Investigative Reporting, Upgrading our Towns Emergency Communications, How to set up a Blog, and Mapping out a Story.

Each event is free and open to the public, and includes lunch. Advance registration is required. To register, please visit www.thecitizenscampaign.org or call Renee at (732) 548-9798 x.9.

This series is supported by the New Jersey Recovery Fund, which focuses on building stronger and more engaged communities in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. By empowering citizens with the skills and know-how to collect and share information, we can foster greater civic engagement and ensure the public is informed about recovery decisions.

Series sponsors include: Jersey Shore Hurricane News, Creative New Jersey, WHYY, WNYC, NJ News Commons, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Community Foundation of New Jersey, and the Rita Allen Foundation.

The Citizens Campaign is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that empowers citizens to change the political climate and become a new force for answering our hometowns, state and nation’s challenges.

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