Teaching and Participatory Journalism

By Mary Lou Nemanic

Participatory Journalism, simply defined, involves news work by both professionals and non-professionals. Today we see this in both traditional and online news operations as audience members contribute comments on news stories, participate in online forums, do original reporting, and serve as sources when professionals engage in crowd-sourcing.

In 2013, we changed the name of our AEJMC Interest Group from the Civic and Citizen Journalism Interest Group to the Participatory Journalism Interest Group to reflect the changing landscape of journalism. Journalism is no longer strictly controlled by professionals acting as gatekeepers but has become a field in which non-professionals can become involved in a variety of ways.  Because professionals have more cooperative or collaborative relationships with non-professionals, their roles are moving more toward what Axel Bruns has termed as “gatewatching” as they moderate citizens’ online posts, and more toward educators and mentors as they work with non-professionals who do original reporting.

For those who work in participatory journalism settings or for those who teach about participatory journalism in journalism and mass communication courses, there are a number of web resources available to facilitate or teach about these new roles for professional journalists.  Here are few key resources:

Mary Lou Nemanic has been researching participatory journalism since 2005.   She is an Associate Professor of Communication, and is designer of the multimedia Bachelor of Arts communication program for Pennsylvania State University-Altoona. She has been co-chair for teaching for the Participatory Journalism Interest Group since 2012.


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