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Citizen Journalism & New Media Unit

Competing News Publications:




Student News Center: 129  (WINNER!!!!)
Minneapolis News Center: 114
Teens on Current Events: 108
MPLS Lives: 81


Unit Essential Questions:
  • How do citizens use media to affect change in our world? What does citizenship have to do with journalism?
  • Are all voices/news sources equal in terms of authority, credibility, and accuracy?  How do we know what to believe?
  • How have new digital technologies changed the creation and reception of news?

"Citizen journalists ... recapture journalism as a truly democratic practice that is thoroughly rooted in -- and thus directly serves -- the real lives and interests of citizens." Doug McGill

"Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one." A.J. Liebling

"If you don't like the news...go out and make some of your own."  Wes "Scoop" Nisker

Culminating Project:
The class will be divided into four different publications competing to be the highest ranked publication in the class.

Each group will create a masthead (title of publication) for their website.

All publications will have the same beat (geographic area): Roosevelt High School and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Your stories can pull from:
  • general news
  • events
  • controversial issues and conflicts
  • sports
  • arts and culture
Each publication will be a google website that the group creates.  On the website, the publication will incorporate the following types of media:
  • print news story and headline
  • blogs and/or use of twitter
  • podcasts
  • videolog and/or photo journal
Publication Deadlines!
1. Published on your site by the end of class on Friday, May 13:
  • One news story about an upcoming Roosevelt event.  Story must incorporate quotes from 2 interviews.
    • 2 original photographs related to story.
  • One feature story about an issue that affects the lives of Roosevelt students.
    • 1 survey, quiz, or questionnaire related to story.
2. Published on your site by the end of class on Monday, May 23rd:
  • 2 blog posts: Each post must be written by a different group member expressing an opposing opinion or perspective about one of the "issues" from the articles written on either their website or another group's website.
    • Embed blogs into website so we can see the journalists' posts (I know how to do this!).
  • 1 profile story (on someone in school (student, teacher, engineer), community member, local business owner). 
    • Can be Q & A or article format. 
  • 1 podcast about a controversial issue that affects students.
3. Published on your site by the end of class on Wednesday, June 1st:
  • 1 story about the use of citizen journalism in response to the tornado in North Minneapolis.
    • Include links to at least 3 examples of citizen journalism that you found on the web.
  • 1 photo journal (embedded slideshow) depicting a current event or a controversial issue.
  • 4 blog posts (1 from each group member) that responds to an article or story on another group's website.
    • Must include a screen shot of the original article (command + shift + 4)
    • Blog must share another  opinion or a unique perspective on the topic.
  • 1 story about student summer plans (or post-graduation plans).
    • includes quotations within story from 3 interviews.
  • 2 stories of your choice on local or hyper-local events/issues.
    • 1 of the stories should be either a podcast or video cast!
    • Both stories must include quotations from two different interviews.
***THIS WEEK: You will get 1 extra point every time you correctly use quotations in your news stories AND for each story with a successful LEAD.

***You will also get 15 bonus points for meeting all this week's requirements!

***Any extra material, stories, interactive features, blog posts, photographs, etc. will count towards more points for your publication.

Culminating Project Grading:


Points based on effective use of:
Citizen Journalism Publishing Standards:

Print stories and headlines: 5 pts per story.
Podcasts: 5 pts per podcast
Blog posts: 4 pts per post.
Individual Photos: 1 pt per photo.
Photo Journals: 5 pts per photo journal
Vidcast: 5 pts per vidcast.

Reader Interactivity:

Blog reader comment: 1-3 pts. depending on quality.
Provided opportunities for reader interactivity (poll, comments, share on twitter, facebook, RSS feed, etc.): 1-3 pts. (quality dependent).

Unit Topics, Activities, & Assignments:
  1. Wordle: What is "news" to us?
    1. Wordle/News Blogging Activity
  2. Discussion: Hyper-local, local, global.
  3. Google site: begin building and organizing your team's home page and site framework.
  4. Journalism and News Media Scavenger Hunt: Exploring news media, sources, and forms.Due: Tues,May 10.
    1. ashley/diana/ahmed/kadejah
    2. abdullahi.jordan.ryan.sandra
    3. keenan.amanda.vanessa.alexis
    4. aqil.chue.hakim.renee
  5. News story writing & writing story leads.
  6. What is newsworthy?: Establish the criteria that makes a story newsworthy.
  7. Twitter: Class News Feed
  8. Discussion, Demonstration, & Research:
    • Blogging: Journalist vs. non-journalists
    • Public relations vs. advertising vs. journalism
    • Reader Interactivity
  9. Global Citizen Journalism Case Study: Iran, Libya, Egypt, Japan, Haiti
Local Citizen Journalism Sites:

Relevant Links:
Overview of Citizen Journalism:

Principles of Citizen Journalism:

Citizen Journalism: From Pamphlet to Blog (video):

Blogger's Guide to Citizen Journalism:

Video & audio encounters with thought leaders in citizen media:

Examples of Citizen Journalism in USA ("Things We Like," KCNN):

Interviewing: A Practical Guide For Citizen Journalists & Links to interviewing resources:

Citizen Journalism Publishing Standards:

Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive: