This is a cross-post from TechLearning today.

Affiliated with the 501(c)(3) non-profit Conversations Network, PodCorps is a:

…worldwide team of producers who record and publish interviews and spoken-word events that would otherwise be lost forever. Podcasters and videobloggers join to learn, share experience with others and give back to their communities.

This sounds like a perfect group to affiliate with StoryChasers: “a multi-state (and potentially multi-national) educational collaborative empowering students and teachers to responsibly record and share stories of local, regional and global interest as citizen journalists.”

I’ve added PodCorps to my social bookmarks for “citizen journalism.” I recently ran across the short and informative “7 Things You Should Know About Citizen Journalism” publication from EduCause. It includes links to several citizen journalism projects I had not encountered previously including Scoop08, a 2008 U.S. Presidential election coverage site started by university students from Yale and Andover. The website byline is, “The first-ever daily national student newspaper,” and it involves both high school as well as college students as citizen reporters. The paragraph on page two of this EduCause PDF under “Why is it significant” captures many of the reasons I think all of our students would benefit from involvement in some aspect of the StoryChasers initiative or a similar citizen journalism project:

Citizen journalism epitomizes the belief that the experiences of people personally involved with an issue present a different—and often more complete—picture of events than can be derived from the perspective of an outsider. Due to limitations of access and time— and in some cases ulterior motives to present just one side of a story—traditional reporting risks at least the perception of being skewed. By granting access to anyone to cover the news, citizen journalism presents a more personal, nuanced view of events and has the potential to cultivate communities of people with a common interest. Through blogs, citizen journalists have broken stories about political corruption, police brutality, and other issues of concern to local and national communities. Research has shown that traditional news outlets believe that participation by readers improves the quality of the news, and such participation tends to increase the trust that the community has in the news. Citizen journalism forces contributors to think objectively, asking probing questions and working to understand the context so that their representation of events is useful to others. These activities get people involved in new ways with the world around them, forming a deeper connection with the subjects of their investigations. For students, these are the same kinds of activities that lead to deeper learning and to taking more responsibility for contributions made to a collective understanding.

Critical thinking, deeper learning, taking responsibility, and becoming truly engaged in learning tasks versus “temporarily enthralled” are all great reasons to consider involving your students in a StoryChaser’s project or another type of new-media citizen journalism initiative.

I hope to add some additional elements to the StoryChaser’s project wiki soon, including more “digital backpack” ideas, and will encourage participants to create a profile and a wish list on Digital Wish. (It’s free.) Through a website like Digital Wish, teachers can now apply DIRECTLY for funding for their classroom educational technology hardware and software needs and wants. Educational technology funding for classroom teachers is being “disintermediated.” I love it!

If you are an event producer of any kind (this can certainly include school events) check out the page for Event Producers. Post your event to and use the tag “podcorps.” Within 24 hours available “stringers” in your local area should be notified of the event. Hopefully one or more will contact you to record and web-post the event on your website, the Internet Archive, or another location.

Not familiar with the term “stringer?” According to the English WikiPedia today:

In journalism, a stringer is a type of freelance journalist who contributes reportage to a news organization on an on-going basis but is paid individually for each piece of published or broadcast work. As freelancers, stringers do not receive a regular salary and the amount and type of work is typically voluntary. However, stringers have an ongoing relationship with one or more news organizations to provide content on particular topics or locations when the opportunities arise.

Got “stringers” in your school community? Consider empowering some with StoryChasers! 🙂

Background note: I stumbled across PodCorps today when I was downloading the free Levelator software program to use with the latest Technology Shopping Cart podcast “Digital Wishes, Flip Video Labs, and Manifest Destiny for Educational Technology.” It worked REALLY well to even out audio levels in the finished podcast. Thanks to The Conversations Network for offering The Levelator free! It is available for Windows, Macintosh, and some Linux distributions.

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One Response to, Citizen Journalism and StoryChasers

  1. Rick T says:

    I don’t quite know if this fits, but I just found There volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back to the net. It’s got over 1581 items and includes many items in the public domain. People can even volunteer to record items. Very interesting!

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