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Resources for citizen journalism

Citizen journalism is in a unique league of its own. As a movement that really started out with people sharing what was going on in front of them—from camera phone videos of students being tased to tweeting about elections in Iran—citizen journalism comes from very DIY roots.


We have two sheets designed to make the process of creating content as easy as possible. Our Community Reporter Sheet is for individual reporters and can be found here. Our Nonprofit Reporter Sheet, for nonprofits to enter content and create stories, can be found here.


Each week, a member of The Rapidian staff publishes an editorial related to goings-on at The Rapidian, developments in the world of citizen journalism and tips for making the most of the site. Topics range from Creative Commons licensing to effective headlines to our site development docket. They are archived on the site.

 Former Vice President Dick Cheney's speech in a word cloudPresident Obama's speech in word cloud form

Stephanie Condon of CBS News' Political Hotsheet put together these word clouds of two opposing speeches on national security given by President Barack Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney. She used Wordle, a free word cloud generator that reads through text content entered to create an image with varying sized words based on how often those words are repeated in the or text. Although CBS is a renowned news source, as a blogger, Condon had to pull together a quick and stunning insight using free internet multimedia resources.

Mashable also came up with a fairly comprehensive guide for popular sites to get free multimedia.

Open source design software are free and getting more user friendly everyday. Several open source design software that might be useful for creating content for The Rapidian are:

  • Audacity for audio editing
  • Blender for 3D creation
    • Tutorials for how to create specific effects in Blender
  • GIMP for photo editing and manipulation
  • Inkscape for digital illustration
  • Jing to make a video of what's happening on your computer screen


For all things citizen journalism related, visit the Knight Citizen News Network's learning modules page.

To learn how to do professional quality video on the cheap, Izzy Video is where it's at. Israel Hyman also regularly produces bite-sized podcasts that cover everything from three-point lighting to audio levels.