Citizen Reporters: Activist Journalism

If you’re a news junkie, like us, earlier this year you watched right along with us while history unfolded as the Egyptian revolution captured the world’s attention.   The dominant story—how a citizenry came together to overthrow a leader which has now shifted power throughout the Arab world—made headlines across the globe, but beyond the core story of the uprisings, we witnessed how the movement materialized through the internet and use of popular social networking sites.  As the Egyptian government worked to suppress free speech, we witnessed the emergence of “Citizen Journalists” who defiantly continued to blog and provide eyewitness accounts and videos of the violence that was evolving.

Egypt is a clear example of how in a free society citizens are beckoned to take an active role in examining its government and evaluate its elected officials. After all, we are the ones who put them into these roles of leadership.   As the national and local government funding turmoil continue to manifest itself, many in the community wonder and ask why— why is it the government can’t get it right?

There’s no question that government bureaucracy, for its part, thrives on the disinterest of its citizens– except perhaps during election season, when a politico’s survival is contingent on our vote.  In El Paso, the recent widespread corruption indictments of numerous elected officials demonstrate the importance of why the community needs to keep a watchful eye.  So in the spirit of the Egyptians, who provided us with a robust example of citizen journalism, we encourage you to do more than sit back uninvolved and indifferent to what goes on around you. 

 Whether you write, take pictures or video, or just want to share a snippet of news, this is the place to do it.  We want to hear what you have to say.  Our goal is not to incite bashing or petty griping, but to provide another avenue for news, kindle thought-provoking dialogue, and engage in healthy adult-focused debate.  Conversely, this is also a site to showcase good news! If there is something you feel is being done right throughout your community, then we also encourage you to share it.

Become a citizen journalist:

  1. First step, spread the word!  Tell everyone you know about the site: the El Paso News Organization. (www.elpasonews.org)
  2. Second, you must register . Registering is simple and we, under no circumstances, will sell your email address.  This site is your site.  It’s not a money making operation, therefore we’ve no interest in using your email for profit. Why do we require your email? It will help us curtail any abusive behavior.

3. The final step: participation. This may be the hardest step, but once you take it you never look back.   You can start with baby steps—by providing a simple comment.  As you begin to feel comfortable, then you can graduate to writing articles, news snippets, and uploading pictures or video. The idea is to share your thoughts and what’s important to you!  You would be surprised how many people are interested and want to hear what you have to say.

Now what?  Well, go forth and multiply, or in this case, contribute and share—story ideas, content, opinions, kudos, blurbs, etc.  We’ve provided you with the mechanism, and we want you to fully take advantage of it. So you too can call yourself a citizen journalist!

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