Since April of this year we have been lucky to launch the Mobile Journalism Collective project, a citizen journalism training curriculum and model currently supported through a great fellowship we received from the National Minority Consortia. Our goal has been to find and activate localized citizen voices around the country who capture news stories using the Flip Video camera and some small-format techniques we’ve developed.
We’ve been gratified to find some engaged independent journalists, citizens, students, and perspectives but until this point we have been lacking a consistent flow of content from our activated journalists. To address this issue we decided to test out a new model for our third and final training, partnering with a “middle man” organization, particularly one that uses community news gathering as a central point of engagement.
To that end we established contact with All Things Harlem (http://allthingsharlem.com) a community news website focused on covering all news relevant to the Harlem community in New York. After our inaugural training session there are already hints of great potential; shifting the paradigm of news as spectacle, most of the independent voices we gathered were more interested in capturing profiles of their community members, rather than the usual spectacle about Harlem that ends up on the local news.
This is not to say the participants were not aware, or even eager, to cover accurately news related to central community issues like police brutality and abuse of power. However, they seemed engaged the most when the task was to showcase the myriad voices of their fellow citizens seen in the sea of daily life here in Harlem. Over the next few months we will be collecting these stories and sharing them on the blog, featuring the most successful examples of utilizing the Flip Video camera, along with our “One Shot” reporting technique. The One Shot method is taught to citizen reporters as an efficient way to tell stories within the moment without the extra workflow of editing; which must be conceded as a separate skill set, but one not required to be a good citizen reporter in your local neighborhood.
Below is our first Harlem report, a character profile from citizen reporter LHRN utilizing the “one-on-one” One Shot template. The subject of lynching is one that still yields much conversation, there are many facts of its gruesomeness we still know not much about, so it is interesting to speak with voices who take it upon themselves to educate the community, and engage them in conversation that can at times be painful to carry on.