#FLcommunityjourno 1

Signed up for Cardiff’s Centre for Community Journalism (@C4CJ) MOOC on, you guessed it, community journalism, led by Richard Sambrook (@sambrookblog post | another one) and a team of four (women). I’ve come across the Centre before – see my post on #cjc13: how to do community journalism. My hyperlocal tag also brings up How many Facebook users in Hvidovre? (2012) and an event report from 2011 including a review of DMJX’s Journalistik tæt på borgerne conference on citizen (sic) journalism. I’ve also heaps of links in Evernote. We’ll see how much of this stuff I can process during the five weeks of the MOOC.

While community journalism is often seen as a synonym for hyperlocal and online replacements for local newspapers, it’s interesting that the blurb states that the MOOC “will also explore different forms of community – whether geographic, professional or personal interest”.

Also a chance to give FutureLearn another shot. They seem to have made some changes to the interface, or maybe it’s just that we’re being led through it in a different way:

  • don’t remember seeing the introductory vid on how to use FutureLearn before – and you do need to watch it, the sparse nature of the design means it’s not entirely intuitive
  • this is followed by a screed of text – makes the whole thing feel very hard
  • the endless stream is now a to do list, hmm, not sure that is an ideal metaphor for dipper-in and -outers
  • my issue with comments remains – the welcome page has 449 ‘comments’ as at 8:30 on Tuesday morning, I don’t think so; this ‘below the line’ format attracts a lot of “me too” type responses

From completing the survey it seems that my main gaps are digital journalism per se, in particular legal and ethical issues. The course structure:

  • a theory strand looking at broad developments in the sector
  • a practice strand focusing on tools and techniques
  •  journalism essentials introducing professional skills

It’s pitched at interested learners, but also offers “further reading, more advanced technical exercises and, of course, plenty of space for discussions to explore more in-depth issues”.


Week 1 has 16 ‘steps’ on the to do list. After the preambles the theory strand starts with an article defining community journalism, ie text, yay! Snippet (my emphasis):

Community media often develop in areas where there is no alternative media coverage or where traditional media outlets have closed. As such, they can have a key role in binding a community together and connecting for example rural communities where there is otherwise no core means of communication. They can have an important role to play in ensuring voices and viewpoints, under-reported by mainstream media outlets, are heard.

The theory strand concludes with a discussion:

  • How do you think community journalism differs from traditional local news?
  • What does community journalism mean to you?

330. Nah. See bolding above instead, plus the Centre’s weekly roundup and:

I touch on local issues on my A/drift blog, and I have come across some bloggage from other localities, however the ‘citizen’ or indeed ‘journo’ angle is lacking so far. The local (free) press in Denmark is pretty unavoidable – where does funding come from? – and feels pretty top down. There has been a story lately about filming council meetings. To be continued…


The practice strand is made up of a vid from the Talk About Local people and one on other community media, in particular radio. Also, an overview of using census stats (E&W | Scotland) as an aid to researching your audience, backed up by a discussion. Don’t think Denmark has a census. If you’ve got an identity card cum social security number which even knows what library books you borrow it’s a bit surplus to requirements.


Begins with an article with an historical overview of local news. Nice stats:

  • in 1950 the average daily total paid circulation for British national daily newspapers was about 21 million (equivalent to almost 150 per cent of households)
  • by 2010 it had halved to about 10.1 million (equivalent to 39.9 per cent of households)
  • Ofcom’s 2013 annual market report found that 17% of regular news users said online browsing was their most important source of local news, one percentage point ahead of newspapers at 16%
  • ABC figures for the second half of 2013 show the fastest rate of decline so far for regional dailies in the UK – 14% year on year overall with 64 titles opting out of the ABC audit altogether
  • access to content published online is experiencing dizzying growth – in 2013 the Manchester Evening Post had twice as many online as print readers; the Western Mail almost four times as many
  • according to the Newspaper Society there are now 1,100 local newspapers and 1,700 associated websites in the UK; print versions are still read by 30 million people a year and digital channels by 79 million

Then there’s a vid on accuracy and verification in relation to:

  • sources – check your own digital footprint on Pipl.com and WebMii, website ownership at Who.is
  • photos and videos – TinEye reverse image search, cf Google Images (via camera icon); EXIF info on Flickr or via Jeffreys EXIF viewer; great tips, I’ve used this already : D
  • location – check on Google Maps, from tweets


  1. Local news is – in trouble but going through a period of change.
  2. Causes of change? Advertisers and readers are moving online.
  3. Will Perrin thinks Facebook has ‘changed the game’ for many hyperlocal sites. Gosh. See post I’ve just discovered in my Evernote on Hyperlocals and Facebook.
  4. Census data is useful for community journalists researching their area as it gives them information about their community including employment rates, education and age.
  5. How many more online readers than print readers does the Western Mail have? Four times as many!

All done!

What’s happening on the Twitters? 

Topsy showed 562 #FLcommunityjourno tweets for the last 30 days, 213 for the past day on Tuesday am, but revisiting on Saturday am showed 835 for last 30, 35 for past day. Quite a lot of people I’ve encountered before on the tag. There’s already a Twitter list and Facebook group (67 mems, Sat), plus talk of a FutureLearnTumblr, which could be a step forward. I’ll tweet this post when week 2 opens – the only blogger who’s popped up so far is Jase, using the rather interesting looking Fargo.

In terms of MOOCs and Twitter, I’ve archived tweets from four MOOCs – see my data page for details. I also blogged about #mapmooc on Twitter (1) | #mapmooc on Twitter (2)#mapmooc (5): the story of a MOOC. Worth revisiting in the light of Shirley’s tweet.


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