I’ve spent the past four months researching community newsrooms and citizen journalism while a journalist-in-residence as a Michener-Deacon Fellow at Carleton University – and loved every minute of teaching and research.
But now my time is up. At the beginning of May, I’ll be moving on to my next challenge in the Ottawa Citizen newsroom. Bring on the adrenaline rush of daily news.
As this fellowship draws to a close, I’ve come to the following conclusions about community newsrooms:
Ask Brad Kehler and Corwyn Friesen what’s behind the success of their community news site mySteinbach.ca, and they answer quickly: their community cares about what’s going on.
Kehler and Friesen, who met while working at the local Ford dealership, left their secure jobs and founded the site seven-and-a-half years ago. As they tell it, Friesen showed Kehler the early pages of mySteinbach and convinced him there was a need for a portal in the community to share news and information.
My original plan was broad enough to be a PhD dissertation, I worked with Christopher Waddell, the Director of the School of Journalism at Carleton, to sharpen its focus. I’d like to examine Canadian initiatives, as well as projects south of the border. And most importantly, it has to be a study that can be completed in four months, the length of the fellowship.