The Benefits of Citizen Journalism

The following is excerpted from an article by Tara Wendell on an interview with Jim O'Bryan published August 22, 2009 in the Westlake Bay Village Observer.

“Everybody has at least one story to tell and most people have hundreds of stories to tell,” Jim explained.” Every person is a gardener, a photographer, has traveled to someplace nice, has a niece or nephew. The stories are limitless. Some of the people in Lakewood who I thought were the most boring and mundane had the most fascinating stories to tell."

"Everybody has a story. And everybody likes to read a story. If there’s one thing the paper does, it creates an endless stream of ‘refrigerator articles’ for the entire community. This is what most papers can’t bring to a community because they’re not hyperlocal, they’re commercially sensitive, and in fact, they are not born, owned or come out of the community.”

Aside from being a forum for members of the community to report news and discuss local topics, citizen media can have a profound effect on local organizations and governments. “I have letters from the mayor, most members of city council, the school board and the director of the library [saying] that it is probably the best thing that has ever happened to the city,” Jim said.

"Through stories printed in the Lakewood Observer, community groups, city leaders, churches and the library have been able to extend their reach. Attendance at public events and collections by non-profit fundraisers have skyrocketed."



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Volume 2, Issue 8, Posted 11:53 AM, 03.14.2015