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‘Bellingcat’ Kickstarter Campaign Seeks to Unite Investigative Citizen Journalists

BellingcatCitizen journalism is more prevalent than ever with the upsurge in social media platforms. Now that so much information is available at our fingertips, it seems that reporters — both formally trained and novice — are even hungrier for accurate news.

A crowdfunding campaign by a man named Eliot Higgins has the goal of bringing together citizen journalists who are curious about hard news issues through an open-source website. His vision is for contributors all over the world to continue coverage of “Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Kurdistan, Nigeria, Jihadists, Shia armed groups, the UK phone hacking scandal, police corruption, and more,” he wrote on Kickstarter.

Bellingcat, as he calls it, is based on the idea that citizen journalists have the power to do much of the investigation that traditional media outlets do. YouTube and Reddit are just two hugely important tools that anyone who values verification and getting to the bottom of a news story can use, and it’s totally open-sourced. Social media does the same thing, Higgins wrote on his Kickstarter page.

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Mediabistro Course

Travel Writing

Travel WritingStarting September 23, learn how to turn your travel stories into published essays and articles! Taught by a former Vanity Fair staff writer, James Sturz will teach you how to report, interview, and find sources, discover story ideas and pitch them successfully, and understand what travel editors look for in a story. Register now!

Reddit Launches Live Blogging Platform

reddilive.jpgReddit has officially launched RedditLive, a new feature where anyone on the platform can create their own live blog via a subreddit. The feature has been in beta for a few months but now anyone can get at it and live blog at will.

Are we still in a place where this means journos will whine about professionalism, ethics, and recall the mob mentality surrounding some reddit threads and news events? Probably. If so, it’s probably time to shed the pretense. Reporting needs to be mobile, live, and transparent. RedditLive doesn’t have to be a publisher, though that’s technically what it is, but could be a really good source for you in the newsroom. Although, someone is live-blogging their midnight snack.

I think that reddit is sort of a self-cleaning machine. There’s a lot of noise over there, and that’s a good thing. When something is wrong or missing, people notice. It’s like the “eyes on the street” effect for the web. Read more

Seattle Times Columnist Writes Everything By Hand For Two Days

Monica Guzman wrote everything by hand for two days and photographed each piece of writing.

Monica Guzman wrote everything by hand for two days and photographed each piece of writing.

If you haven’t heard of Seattle Times columnist Monica Guzman‘s crazy experiment yet, I’m here to tell you that it’s more important than it may initially seem.

Guzman got to thinking about how much more “writing” humans do than ever before, and especially journalists, what with tweets and Facebook posts to write, reader comments to which to respond, stories, note-taking, transcribing and of course, the dreaded email.

“I wanted to get a more tactile feel for my share of this digital mother lode. So last week, I did something crazy. I wrote everything by hand,” she wrote (or typed?) for the Times.

She says she didn’t do it because she loves writing cramps and cursive.

“I did it to hack my brain. To make it slow down and notice the flurry of digital mutterings it writes and sends so easily, they barely register as mutterings at all.”

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Source Sleuth Looks to Connect Journalists, Bloggers with Quality Sources

source sleuthGood story sources aren’t always easy to come by, as most journalists can attest. And, the stress of deadline pressure can make finding those sources an even more daunting task.

But, while there are several free services out there to help, there are few that take the time to vet those same sources.

Enter Chicago-based Source Sleuth, a free service that seeks to connect journalists, bloggers and other writers with “quality sources.” Read more

RebelMouse Gets A Makeover

RebelMouseI’ve written about RebelMouse here before — it’s always been a pretty useful tool for curating your various social media accounts. But it’s entering new territory now. Publishers will have the chance to not only aggregate all their content but also use the platform to increase the impact of their viral stories and become a vital part of the social conversation.

Brands and media companies alike are constantly trying the crack the Facebook algorithm code plus keep up with the ebbs and flows of various social network popularity. RebelMouse founder Paul Berry (formerly head of technology at the Huffington Post) and his team are giving pubs a place to combine all their social happenings and create original content.

“RebelMouse is now a content management and distribution platform with comprehensive blogging and original authoring tools to make your content creation process as seamless as possible,” Berry wrote on RebelMouse’s blog.

As Capital New York‘s Johana Bhuiyan wrote, this move may make it competitive with blogging and CMS platform Medium. Animal lover website The Dodo was created entirely with RebelMouse, and it has seen incredible traffic figures because of RebelMouse’s capability of linking back to social media.

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