Citizens Campaign Announces Training Series For Community Reporters

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STATE — The Citizens Campaign will hold a three-part series of trainings this fall to empower New Jersey residents with the skills and know-how to be community reporters. The series aims to 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 Oct. 5 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Ocean County College. The event, “Good Information Matters,” 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 Nov. 2 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 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 Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. -1 p.m. 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, 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. 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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