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PJNet Academy

What Is Civic Journalism and Will It Work in Ecuador?

A reading list in Spanish compiled by Francisco Seoane Perez, graduate student

Department of Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago, June 2005

  1. Carrasco, Sabrina (Junio, 2003): Origen y evolución del periodismo público
    Las experiencias pioneras. La crisis de la prensa y de la vida política que condujeron al nacimiento de la corriente. Evolución del movimiento y balance de una década:
  2. Carrasco, Sabrina (Junio, 2003): “Periodismo cívico: la gente define la agenda y delibera sobre políticas”. Investigación alojada en la web de Cambio Cultural.
  3. Carrasco, Sabrina (Junio, 2003): Casos de periodismo público
    Un diario, un canal de televisión y dos radios se asocian para que en los barrios pobres azotados  por delitos violentos los vecinos puedan dar su versión de las causas, proponer soluciones y generar trabajo voluntario. Otras experiencias
  4. Carrasco, Sabrina (Junio, 2003): Métodos y técnicas del periodismo público
    El uso de encuestas y herramientas cualitativas para determinar la “agenda ciudadana”. Los procedimientos de deliberación pública y de interacción entre medios y ciudadanos. Pasos típicos en un proyecto de periodismo cívico. El “mapeo cívico”
  5. Miralles, Ana María (2002): Periodismo, opinion pública y agenda ciudadana.
    Bogotá: Norma.

    COMMENT: This book is not on-line, but it’s a very good introduction for journalists and scholars, clearly written and adapted to the Latin-American context. It was published in Colombia, so it shouldn’t be difficult to get in Ecuador.

  6. Una declaración por el Periodismo Público: Declaración suscrita por los miembros de la Red de Periodismo Público; Kennesaw, Georgia, USA, Enero 25, 2003
  7. Ana María Miralles, Periodismo Público: Voces Ciudadanas – Usted Decide!: Descripción breve: El periodismo público es una herramienta para la participación de la ciudadanía en el debate de los asuntos de interés público a través de la convocatoria de los medios masivos de comunicación, del despliegue de mecanismos para la discusión y el libre examen público de los temas y la inclusión de los ciudadanos en procesos de deliberación que buscan ejercer su influencia en el trazado de las políticas públicas.[...]
  8. Willis, Chris y Bowman, Shayne (2003): Nosotros, el medio. Cómo las audiencias están modelando el futuro de las noticias y la información. The Media Center, American Press Institute. Available at:
  9. En busca de soluciones: Periodismo Cívico, a powerpoint de Maren Bingham, Editora del  Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderale – Florida, Becaria de la Fundación Knight.
  10. Álvarez Teijeiro, Carlos (2000): Comunicación, democracia y ciudadanía. Fundamentos teóricos del Public Journalism. Buenos Aires: CiCCUS-La Crujía.
  11. Jay Rosen: Perfil Biográfico y de Pensamiento

Is Public Journalism Morphing into the Public’s Journalism?

By Leonard Witt
Robert D. Fowler Distinguished Chair in Communication
Kennesaw State University
Published in the National Civic Review, Fall 2004 Vol. 93, Number 3.

“The State of the News Media” report for 2004, produced by the Project for Excellence in Journalism at Columbia University, says “Journalism is in the middle of an epochal transformation, as momentous probably as the invention of the telegraph or television.”

The transformation is being powered in part by technological advances that have reduced the cost of publishing. Today anyone with access to a computer can have the equivalent of a printing press — indeed, everyday citizens can have a multimedia publishing house with global reach, at their fingertips. Much of what public or civic journalists were struggling so hard to accomplish for more than a decade from mostly within the news media is suddenly being thrust upon the entire news media from the outside at lightning speed. Few saw it coming.

Indeed, in early 2003 public journalism appeared, at least to some critics and even to some advocates, to be moribund. The Pew Center for Civic Journalism closed its doors that spring, and with it went organizing power and millions of dollars in funding support for public journalism projects and workshops. However, the cadre of scholars and journalists were eager to keep the movement alive.

Twenty-four of them came together at Kennesaw State University outside of Atlanta in January 2003 to form the Public Jurnalism Network (PJNet), a professional society for educators and journalists. The luminaries of the movement were present, among them such early advocates as Jay Rosen, Lewis Friedland, and Davis “Buzz” Merritt. Early practitioners such as Cole Campbell, Chris Peck, and Rexanna Lester, all of whom ran newspapers under the public journalism banner, were in attendance, as was Jan Schaffer, the outgoing director of the Pew Center for Public Journalism.

Read the entire article

This Movement Won’t Be Buried

By Leonard Witt

Twenty-four of us had come together on a Saturday in January to form a public journalism society. About mid-way through this charter meeting of the Public Journalism Network, Chris Peck, editor of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, put his hands a foot apart and announced in somber terms that public journalism is on the verge of being “book-ended,” with his right hand representing the movement’s start in the early 1990s and his left representing its end in 2003. Even Jan Schaffer, who ran the Pew Center for Civic Journalism until it closed last spring, suggested that maybe it was time to leave the names “public” and “civic” behind and promote just their tenets.

Yet despite these words of caution, none of the journalists and academics in the room that day were ready to declare public journalism dead. And I, for one, am not interested in practicing its tenets under a new, less controversial name. For me, to rename public or civic journalism would be like dropping the name Protestant because it outraged the Catholics.

Some critics charge that money was the movement’s motivating force. Indeed, the Pew Charitable Trusts spent millions to introduce the idea into newsrooms nationwide. The Pew money did a lot of good, but now that it’s gone I can assure these critics that big money was never a motivating force. Passion, however, was, and it remains strong.

Almost without exception, the people who came to Kennesaw State University in Georgia in January were either compensated by their own institutions or paid their own way. All told, our charter meeting represented fourteen states, four continents, a dozen colleges and universities, seven newspapers, and one television station.

Read the entire paper

The State of the Public Journalism Network

By Leonard Witt

Includes sections written by Tom Warhover from the Civic Journalism Interest Group workshop July 29, 2003, at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) convention in Kansas City.

Tom Warhover, left; and Leonard Witt, right First the State of Public Journalism. I am even more optimistic about the state of public journalism than I was in late January when I helped launch the Public Journalism Network here at Kennesaw State University.

My piece in the November/December, 2003 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review reflects that optimism. Public journalism is taking place in traditional places, like newspapers, but also as Jan Schaffer points out, it is expanding its tent into places unimagined when public journalism began some 15 years ago.

For example, Chris Allbritton, a former AP and New York Daily News reporter, raised enough money from his weblog readers to cover the war in Iraq as an independent journalist.

The time is right for the PJNet to expand into a self-sustaining professional and scholarly association. So starting today we are soliciting dues paying members. Our goal is 100 members in the year 2004, which would make us twice the size of the Organization of News Ombudsman and about half the size of the Association of Sunday and Feature Editors.

Read the entire paper

Creating a Bold Venture in Community Journalism Education

The Ayers Family Institute for Community Journalism
Quickening the Heart of Heartland Journalism

A paper written for the Newspapers and Community-Building Symposium IX at the National Newspaper Association’s 117th Annual Convention and Trade Show, Sept. 25-26, the Hyatt Regency Crown Center, Kansas City, MO

By Chris Waddle
President, The Ayers Family Institute for Community Journalism
Vice President/News, Consolidated Publishing Co., publishers of The Anniston Star

Chris Waddle First comes the birth. Then comes the christening to name and to define and to rear the child into the fold.

The Ayers Family Institute for Community Journalism is a brand new baby. It is the non-profit offspring of a foundation formed by the owners of Consolidated Publishing, Co., publishers of The Anniston Star.

Every naming ritual in human societies has the effect of reaffirmation for the body of people who sponsor the child. So those of us in Alabama behind the Ayers Family Institute are redefining the beating heart of heartland journalism.

We not only propose to teach community journalism. By extension we take on the serious responsibility on behalf of mass media to insert some meaning behind it when we include in the name of this child, “Community Journalism.”

Read the entire paper

Words of Cautionary Advice for US Journalists and Scholars

Spreading the Public Journalism Message Globally

By Davis W. “Buzz” Merritt
For the Public Journalism Network
June 2, 2003

David W. Merritt Despite earnest if sometimes misguided efforts, the United States rarely has been successful in establishing American-style democracy in countries in which we have intervened. That history should be cautionary to people who accept invitations to talk about public journalism abroad.

We need to be doing a lot of talking with journalists in other countries, as the appetite to hear our ideas is consistent and widespread, and in the last few years I have been involved in discussions and seminars with professionals in a dozen countries.

Some were more successful than others. In reflecting on my experiences, I’ve developed a checklist of things to think about in advance of such visits. While many of the points will be obvious to some people, others might not be – and certainly were not to me when I first began developing seminars for foreign journalists.

Read the entire essay

Read more views on Global Public Journalism from Buzz Merritt

Articles and Books of Interest for Public Journalists

Getting the Whole Story: Reporting and Writing the News Getting the Whole Story: Reporting and Writing the News

By Cheryl Gibbs and Tom Warhover, Guildford Press, September, 2002.

Reviewed by Sharon Hartin Iorio, Wichita State University

At last, a textbook for basic news writing and reporting presented from the civic journalism point of view is available. Getting the Whole Story, as the title implies, is a textbook devoted to comprehensive news coverage. But, beyond a solid grounding in reporting and writing, students of this text will learn the basics of journalism from perspective of experienced journalists who are committed to supporting democratic processes in their work.

Read the entire review

Growing a Community

Quill, A magazine for the professional journalist
March 2003, Volume 91, Number 2

About a decade after its controversial start, civic journalism has made its way into newsrooms across the country. Gina Barton, a reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, provides an extensive update of where the movement is today.

Read the entire article

Weblog Background Information for Journalists

  • OhmyNews Makes Every Citizen a Reporter

    The pioneering South Korean news site posts hundreds of stories every day — most are written by housewives, schoolkids, professors and other “citizen journalists.” Founder Oh Yeon-Ho says his site is changing the definition of journalism — and who can be a journalist.

    Yeon-Jung Yu E-mail icon Posted: 2003-09-17

    Japan Media Review

  • Participatory Journalism Puts the Reader in the Driver’s Seat

    J.D. Lasica, OJR Senior Editor E-mail icon

    Posted: 2003-08-07

    Online Journalism Review

    Key Quote:

    A new report on participatory journalism by New Directions for News concludes: “Journalism finds itself at a rare moment in history where… its hegemony as gatekeeper of the news is threatened by not just new technology and competitors but, potentially, by the audience it serves.”

  • What is Participatory Journalism?

    The line between journalism and personal publishing is a blurry one, thanks to new ubiquitous tools that make it possible for anyone to publish and report news.

    J.D. Lasica, OJR Senior Editor E-mail icon

    Posted: 2003-08-07

    Online Journalism Review

  • The Blogging of the President

    The Blogging of the President (or BOP)is dedicated to the great writer Theodore H. White, whose documentary series of books, “The Making of the President,” inspired generations of journalists, including Christopher Lydon. We believe that the story of how America chooses its leader is fundamental to how America conceives of itself, and something about this story changed in 2004. Somehow, HTML and ‘blogs’ are now pillars of the republic; indeed, a whole new way of doing politics seems emergent and potentially dominant. BOP is using audio, text, and community to tell the story, or, retell it, to the ghost of Teddy White

    See this press release I will post on Monday:

    “The Blogging of the President: 2004″ is a program for anybody interested in a rebuilding democracy of American voices — in a conversation that is free, democratic and instantly global. The world of blogging is bigger and broader than the rise of Howard Dean. There are hundreds, thousands, millions of free voices talking about politics, as well as food, technology, popular culture, science, relationships — all the points of the conversational compass.

    Is blogging an essential part of our political and cultural future, or just a new talking point for activists and pundits? Two days before the New Hampshire Primary, bring your listeners into the conversation on Sunday, January 25th.

    “The Blogging of the President: 2004″ is produced by Minnesota Public Radio with Host Christopher Lydon and Producer Mary McGrath, the team that inaugurated “The Connection” on public radio in 1994. Chris and Mary returned to public radio last year with “The Whole Wide World, a dynamic series of specials for PRI. Bill Buzenberg of Minnesota Public Radio serves as Executive Producer of the program.

  • Columbia Journalism Review Sept/Oct. 2003

    Special Report: The New Alternatives

  • In a Columbian Journalism Review article, Jay Rosen, chair of the journalism department at New York University and the author of “What Are Journalists For?”, writes of the Internet’s potential for independent journalists. In part he writes:

    In March of this year, Chris Allbritton , a former AP and New York Daily News reporter, became what Wired called “the Web’s first independent war correspondent.” He did it by asking readers of his blog to send him to Iraq at their expense… the internet did the rest. On March 27, his reporting drew 23,000 users to his site, thus proving, not that anyone in the public can perhaps be a journalist, but that anyone who is a journalist can have a mini-public on the Net.

  • Dick Morris on the End of Big Media’s Political Influence

    Dick Morris is credited with getting Bill Clinton re-elected in 1996. Here is what he told Christopher Lydon about the power of weblogs and the essence of the Internet in an interview:

    “Where did the anti-globalization movement gets its strength from? Certainly not the mainstream media! Where did the right wing get its strength from? And the anti-Clinton stuff? Where is the Dean candidacy from?

    “If you just read the New York Times and Washington Post you get blindsided by all this stuff. It’s the new age in which everybody is a publisher of a newspaper and they can circulate it to anyone who’s interested in reading it. And that period of freedom–that free exchange of ideas, unmediated by who has a station license or can afford paper and ink–really I think is just the essence of the Internet era.”

    Morris adds: “The essence…is not that it provides a new set of eyes and ears, but that it gives the voters a mouth, which they’ve never had in the media. The impact of that is absolutely historic.”

  • Election Coverage Online Meets Citizen Journalism

    This from Steve Outing’s column in Editor and Publisher:

    The increased adoption of blogging, citizen journalism, Flash presentations and the like portend a different season of political coverage than what we’ve seen in the past…

    You have to register to get into the class.

    Read the entire essay

  • interview

    Greenberg Interview: NH Public Radio Taps Citizen Bloggers

    Also see Leonard Witt’s: Fast, Cheap and Out of Control Post at

  • Jeff Jarvis of

    His baker’s dozen list of how weblogs will affect journalism.

  • Journalists Who Blog — The List

    To keep abreast of what is happening in the world of weblog journalism go to It includes a listing of journalists who are actively keeping weblogs.

  • Ken Sands Busy with Blogs

    Ken Sands, a longtime public journalist at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, gives Steve Outing an update on the paper’s blogging activity.

  • The Primary Frontline Pen Pals Project

    Best Quote:

    “I have found myself as a sort of editor for ten new citizen reporters.” Jon Greenberg, New Hampshire Public Radio.

    New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) and KUNI public radio in Iowa have brought together a mix of experts and everyday voters via weblogs to stimulate public conversations about the presidential primaries. The bloggers are Democrats, Republicans, and “Middle of the Roaders.” Jeff Jarvis at calls this “Primary Frontline Pen Pals” concept simply “Good thinking.”

    The man behind that good thinking is Jon Greenberg, executive editor of New Hampshire Public Radio. Under Greenberg the station’s website won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for 2003 and a Batten Award in 2000 for public journalism. He has granted an instant message interview. Here’s the conversation:

  • The Jeff Jarvis, Jay Rosen dialogues

    Here is exchange between Jeff Jarvis of and Jay Rosen of Press think – Both bloggers who understand the civic journalism potential of what is here:

  • Want to Start A Protest — Let the BBC Help

    Information supplied by Paco Seoane of Spain:

    The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is offering the new iCan project which is intended to facilitate citizens’ participation in public life. The website which was formally launched on November 3, 2003 is in its “beta” testing phase.

    The iCan project wants “to make it easy for you to get together with other people and start making a difference in your neighbourhood”… It also wants to make it easy for you to form a protest group and gives instructions in how to do it.

    Read the complete essay

  • What’s Conservative About the Weblog Form in Journalism?

    These ten things

    Jay Rosen, Press Think

    By “conservative” I do not mean “affiliated with the GOP,” or “listener to Rush Limbaugh,” or coming from the right wing. To ask what’s conservative about weblogs as a form for journalism is to ask: what’s “old” about the new? Which known truths (about media, journalism, truthtelling, life) tend to be verified by the weblog form– even with its radically different and transforming features? “Conservative” here says the old rules still apply, ancient wisdom is indeed wise, the authority of the ages holds — and that sort of thing.

  • What’s Radical About the Weblog Form in Journalism?

    These ten things, for starters.

    Jay Rosen, PressThink

  • The Wilgoren Watch

    Dedicated to Deconstructing the New York Times Coverage of Howard Dean’s Campaign for the White House.

Witt: It is not no longer simply about journalism doing journalism to the people. It is now the people doing journalism back to the journalists. What will it all mean? No one knows, but it can’t be taken lightly, and unlike the early public journalism the hierarchy of the church of religion can’t control it. It’s coming from the bottom up. For more see Jay Rosen’s PressThink

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