September 10, 2008

FYI: Citizen Journalism Workshop at Blogworld

Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Blog Wars: The New Political Battleground and a really neat educator I've worked with in the past, asked me to mention the Citizen Journalism Workshop being held this year at Blogworld in Las Vegas.

Consider this a PSA for an excellent idea:

Citizen Journalism Workshop An Exclusive Event at BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2008 Date: Sept. 19, 2008 10:00AM 4:45PM Location: Las Vegas Convention Ctr., Upper South Hall Conference Rooms; Room 221


As blogs take their place as legitimate and respected sources for news, information and analysis, BLOGWORLD & NEW MEDIA EXPO 2008 introduces a new Citizen Journalism Workshop.

There are about 112 millions weblogs worldwide, and while many are blogging for casual reasons or for just a short time, others, especially news and information bloggers, are serious about their blogs' success in the greater marketplace of ideas.

How can someone "break in" as a news, politics or current events blogger and build a readership, get attention from major bloggers and mass media, and more important perhaps, affect or influence the traditional press agenda, politics, and public opinion?

Traditional news media outlets and bloggers have not always had the best relationship. And yet traditional media has tried to learn from the blogs. In 2008 most mainstream media outlets have blogs, or have their journalists blogging independently.

Now it's time for the bloggers and other new media journalists to mine the history, tradition and most importantly, the knowledge base of traditional journalists.

In 2008 BLOGWORLD & NEW MEDIA EXPO 2008 is introducing a journalism training certificate workshop for bloggers seeking to deepen and broaden their skills. This workshop focuses on tools and skills news and information bloggers can use to improve the quality, and impact of their blogs.

Bloggers will learn techniques of traditional journalists, including styles of opinion writing, investigative reporting techniques and fact-sourcing, avoiding legal pitfalls, and tips on what makes a post most likely to get one quoted or cited by larger blogs and even the mainstream media.

The instructors for the sessions are accomplished news & information practitioners and educators who have established skills in practical and applied areas of professional journalism training. Participants will receive a Citizen Journalism Certificate and Web icon that will allow them to display their dedication to improving their journalistic skills, and providing them with a distinct brand differentiation from the millions of other news and information bloggers.


10:00AM - 11:15AM
Journalism Content & Style: How to Write & Sound for Impact (CJ1)
[Professor Steve Berry, U. Iowa]

You'll learn why substance and clarity trump flash and flair in the battle for readers. This session will teach you how to give your writing the power, lively freshness, style and needed to win hearts and minds. We'll talk about how you can focus your writing to a specific audience, how broadcast, print and website writing differ and why; and how you can use this knowledge to better target specific groups. We'll also examine the rhythms, structure, and succinctness of superior writing and provide you with examples of how the best writers make people see instead of just read.

11:30AM - 12:45PM
Finding What's Out There: Searching, Sifting, and Selecting the Best Information Online (CJ2)
[Professor Jay Perkins, LSU]

Finding information isn't a problem anymore, but avoiding suffocating under all that information can be. Investigative journalists know that government collects a ton of information that most people never find and that Google and Wikipedia can't touch. This session will look at some of the free, hidden treasure chests of information. You'll learn how to assemble a background profile on someone from public records, how to trace property, cars, boats and other transactions, and where to go to find people who can help you find these items. You also will learn how to obtain information from local and national federal agencies through the Freedom of Information Act and how to get around the bureaucrats when they bar the front door and refuse to hand over the key. We'll also talk about fact-checking and source-credibility strategies that will keep you on the path of accuracy--and hopefully, out of someone else's blog.

2:00PM - 3:15PM
Top 10 Ways to Blog Your Way Into a Lawsuit (CJ3)
[Nina Yablok, Law Office of Nina Yablok]

A fast paced romp through the biggest legal risks that both individual and group bloggers face. Emphasis will be on recognizing problems early, assessing risks, self-help measures to minimize risk, when not to call an attorney, and when to make the call and how to use attorneys efficiently. Detailed legal analysis will not be provided. This is very much a "how to reduce risk in the real world" program.

3:30PM - 4:45PM
Getting Mainstream Media Attention: How to Reach Out to Journalists (CJ4)
[Professor David Perlmutter, U. Kansas]

In a crowded online world, how does an independent blogger stand out and be heard? Being cited, quoted, published or used as a source by mainstream media is a significant way to build a larger and wider audience. We will review the basic selection techniques of how journalists deem someone an "approved source" or expert; we discuss how bloggers can enter the Rolodex of reliable sources for major media. Second, we show ways to have blog content picked up by traditional media, from blasting out a press release to writing and submitting an op-ed to contacting and working with mainstream reporters on stories. Finally, we will look at the ethical issues that affect how your blog is perceived by mainstream media.


STEPHEN J. BERRY, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter, is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Iowa, where he specializes in investigative reporting. He recently completed a stint as coordinator of the basic journalistic reporting program and taught a section in it for four years. His book, Watchdog Journalism: The Art of Investigative Reporting [Oxford University Press], was released July 2008. Before entering academia in 2003, Berry was a journalist for 33 years, having worked last at the Los Angeles Times. While at The Orlando Sentinel, he and a colleague won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He has won numerous other honors for investigative and daily reporting, including the Associated Press Newspaper Executive Council Award for public service; the Benjamin Fine award for education reporting; the Los Angeles Times' Top of the Times Award, one of its Pulitzer nominations and its Editor and Publisher Prize; Society of Professional Journalists Award [Atlanta Chapter]; and others. His projects have examined race relations, the criminal justice system, police abuse of power, school district merger, medical malpractice, stock-car racing safety, guns, government and illegal drugs. More recently he has published "Reclaiming Objectivity" and "CBS News Lets the Pentagon Taint its News Process" in Nieman Reports. He holds an M.A. in American history from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

JAY PERKINS is an associate professor at the Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University. He specializes in teaching students how to find and use governmental documents and how to cross-check Internet sources. He has taught investigative, governmental and computer-assisted reporting classes at LSU for the past 25 years. He also teaches classes in the summer in the United Kingdom, has conducted seminars for reporters in Zambia twice, and frequently lectures on using Internet databases and sources to foreign journalists who are visiting the States on sponsored tours. Prior to coming to LSU, he was a political reporter in Washington, D.C., for the Associated Press.

DAVID D. PERLMUTTER is a professor at the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications, University of Kansas. He received his BA and MA from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He has served as a Board member of the American Association of Political Consultants and now sits on the National Law Enforcement Museum Advisory Committee for its Media Exhibit. A documentary photographer, he is the author or editor of seven books on political communication and persuasion: Photojournalism and Foreign Policy: Framing Icons of Outrage in International Crises (Praeger, 1998); Visions of War: Picturing Warfare from the Stone Age to the Cyberage (St. Martin's, 1999); (ed.) The Manship School Guide to Political Communication (LSU Press, 1999); Policing the Media: Street Cops and Public Perceptions of Law Enforcement (Sage, 2000); Picturing China in the American Press: The Visual Portrayal of Sino-American Relations in Time Magazine, 1949-1973 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007); (ed., with John Hamilton) From Pigeons to News Portals: Foreign Reporting and the Challenge of New Technology (LSU Press, 2007) , and Blogwars: The New Political Battleground (Oxford, 2008). He has also written several dozen research articles for academic journals as well as over 150 essays for U.S. and international newspapers and magazines. He writes a regular column, "P&T Confidential," for the Chronicle of Higher Education. He has been interviewed by most major news networks and newspapers, from the New York Times to CNN and ABC and, most recently, The Daily Show. He is editor of the blog of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas ( and his own blog about online politics,

NINA YABLOK is an attorney in private practice. Her firm provides a full range of legal and related services to privately held businesses in a wide range of fields. Areas of advice include, but are not limited to, business development, merger and acquisition consulting, licensing, labor, contract, business entity choice, independent contractor and intellectual property law. Nina has been general counsel to Pajamas Media since it was a twinkle in Charles Johnson's and Roger Simon's eyes. She still represents PJM as well as several other well-known blogs. Nina's first online client was one of the largest and busiest forums on Compuserve. There, she dealt with legal issues on message boards, file libraries, chat rooms and IMs before the term "Social Networking" had been invented, and 11 years before Facebook was launched. She received her law degree from St. John's University, School of Law. Her own blog is at

It certainly sounds like something worth checking out.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 10, 2008 09:59 AM