Reporters Notebook

Citizen Journalism also known as “participatory journalism,” is the act of citizens “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information,” Source: We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information, by Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis.

An informed citizenry is a cornerstone of democracy, and an informed citizenry depends on unrestrained press. History shows that all too often the government acts not in the public interest but some entrenched commercial interests or to defend the power of officials or politicians. It is therefore a primary function of a free press is to serve as a watchdog of government, responsible to the public good, and not to political or business interests.

Classic tenets of journalism call for objectivity and neutrality. These are antiquated principles no longer universally observed…. We must absolutely not feel bound by them. If we are ever to create meaningful change, advocacy journalism will be the single most crucial element to enable the necessary organizing. It is therefore very important that we learn how to be successful advocacy journalists. For many, this will require a different way of identifying and pursuing goals.

“Advocacy Journalism, The Least You Can Do, and The No Confidence Movement.” Dave Berman, 29 Jun 2004. Independent Media Center.

Advocacy journalism aims to persuade through fact-telling. It rejects the notion of objectivity, instead exposing bias to the reader and expressing explicit opinions on the subject matter. The general goal is to present facts in such a compelling, well-researched manner that even a skeptical reader or one who does not share the writer’s opinions, will be swayed to some degree, or at least better informed about the issue at hand.

Investigative journalism and muckraking might be considered forms of advocacy journalism. Investigative reports often focus on illegal or unethical activity, or aim to advance a generally accepted public interest, such as government accountability, alleviation of human suffering, etc. It might be argued that the journalist is assuming a point of view that public action is warranted to change the situation being described.

Rules and advice for advocacy journalists.

  • Acknowledge your perspective up front.
  • Be truthful, accurate, and credible. Don’t spread propaganda, don’t take quotes or facts out of context, “don’t fabricate or falsify”, and “don’t fudge or suppress vital facts or present half-truths”
  • Don’t give your opponents equal time, but don’t ignore them, either.
  • Explore arguments that challenge your perspective, and report embarrassing facts that support the opposition. Ask critical questions of people who agree with you.
  • Avoid slogans, ranting, and polemics. Instead, “articulate complex issues clearly and carefully.”
  • Be fair and thorough.
  • Make use of neutral sources to establish facts.

Source: “Advocacy Journalism” – Sue Careless. The Interim, May 2000.

Journalists’ Sources

Society for News Design
Gannett newsroom resources
Michael Reilley’s Journalists’ Toolbox
Government information portal
Comprehensive library and resource center
FindLaw legal information center
American Journalism Review
Oregon Business Newsnet, daily Oregon business news
Profnet connects reporters with media officers
FACSnet journalistic tools and information
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (legal assistance)
Cornell Legal Information Institute
Freedom of Information Resources, research, resources and ideas to improve journalism
STO patent information
Russian National Information Service
Freedom Forum for Constitutional rights
Free Expression Clearing House
Society of Professional Journalists, Oregon Chapter
Investigative Reporters & Editors
National Institutes of Health
Smithsonian Institution
National Air & Space Museum
JournalismNet by Julian Sher
US Patent Search

Newspaper Services

Free food content, ready to publish, from Family Features Editorial Syndicate
ARA Content, royalty-free articles and images at no charge
Lacche Media, articles on-demand, media consulting, public relations, e-publishing
Oregon Newspaper Project, UO’s microfilm newspaper archive
Audit Bureau of Circulations
Editor & Publisher magazine
National Fraud Information Center
Better Business Bureau
Oregon State Scholarship Commission
Software Publishers Association (SPA)

Rogue Valley Craigslist

Mail Lists

Demographics and Resource Links


3 responses to “Reporters Notebook

  1. Hi. I was the editor of “We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information.”

    How would I be able to get ahold of the creator of this site? I have a citizen journalism-related question. Thanks!

  2. matthew m petrin

    I am writing to you about an issue of paramount priority. My name is Matthew Mark Petrin I am from Nashville, Tennessee where I have lived for the past forty years (born in Woonsocket RI). I have worked successfully in the field of Commercial Real Estate for the past twenty years. In 1997 I was dating a woman named Betsy (Elizabeth Shannon) Moran (originally from St. Petersburg FL). Our relationship was not working and after I broke it off, I responded to her disparaging public remarks in an unacceptable manner – I authored numerous damaging letters in a disguised manner to portray the truth in the matter.

    During this period I was partner in a firm by the name CAPITAL Real Estate Services, LLC. On or about the year 2000 a string of events began to occur that were aimed at causing division and confrontation (a common theme in this program) between my partner Deborah (Sutton) Wilson (2933 San Juan Road, San Diego, CA) and her client Woodman of the World Life Insurance Society (Omaha, NE) and myself.

    Although, I was under the consultation of Nashville attorney’s Robert Goodrich, Stephen Price and Allen Fister, I was denied any civil or legal rights in the matter and extorted out of some $225,000., before being forced to settle in October 2001. From that point forward there has been a constant effort to discredit my character, isolate me from society and drain my finances. I have been placed under some type of advanced GPS tracking and monitoring system. If I resist in the slightest people related and dear to me are literally tortured or killed. Since this incident has begun my little sister Marianne (Petrin) Rachelli, of Boulder Colorado was killed on 9-11-02 (performed to look like a suicide – clearly not the case – the criminals aim in the incident was to lay groundwork for a family history of irrational behavior while furthering attempts to set me up as some type of terrorist, and disabling me by threatening the lives of others dear to me), my grandmother Denise Petrin was killed on 9-12-03, and my sister Suzanne (Petrin) Thompson attacked and beat with a steel chair 9-03, my niece Maggie Anne Hicks was killed on March 26, 2008. I have been extorted over and over again out of belongings, relationships and finances in a the most calculated, deceptive and cruel manner, my fiancé literally taken, raped and I am led to believe turned into a sex slave, I have been run out of the workplace on every attempt I have made to work. My family members seem to be going through some type of mental conditioning, and brainwashing aimed at bringing about forced multiple personalities – for who knows what – but it looks like some type of terrorism or electronic slavery. I have been buffeted and mentally tortured in a constant, calculated and degrading campaign without reason, cause or explanation. I have donated my time to community service, most of my life long earnings and my retirement to the poor, and turned myself into the authorities reporting any and all infractions that have occurred in my life. Contacting numerous law enforcement agencies including the Nashville District Attorneys Office, FBI, Homeland Security, TDOT, Nashville Metropolitan Police Dept., and many more without interest, aid or relief.

    How could the community and our authorities not have more concern about such horrific occurrences and the possible loss of our every freedom, which is placed in jeopardy by these electromagnetic and psychotronic systems. Since these events began I have noticed there are literally thousands of other reports on the matter on the internet. Please help me in informing the authorities / PEOPLE as to the severity of this problem. After experiencing this for the past eight years I feel this is some type of advanced system glitch or failure that is leading to these occurrences, and I cannot help but notice the date sequences relation to 911.

    Matthew Petrin
    401 South Detroit Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90036

  3. Hello! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate!

    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this post
    to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    Thank you for sharing!

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