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May 22, 2008

Calling All Citizen Journalists!

I find it incredibly amazing that The Society of Professional Journalists is embracing us bloggers as the new media breed.  Actually we bloggers (especially mommy bloggers at that) already know that we are the new media force, but having SPJ’s nod of approval gives blogging the credibility it deserves. True to their form in "encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior", SPJ established Citizen Journalism Academy.  It is a one-day intensive workshop in bringing the journalism basics to those who are "practicing journalism through blogs, Web site production and interaction with sites maintained by mainstream news organizations.”

I attended the very first Citizen Journalism Academy workshop here in Chicago at De Paul University this past Saturday. Personally, the real reason I wanted to attend is because I noticed that there is a whole topic about “Staying Out of Trouble”.  As an active blogger, legal mess may be inevitable if you are not aware of certain practices.  And with ChicagoMomsBlog.com (whom I write for) now in syndication, we are of course being read more by the masses.  I am also as active with my 3 other blogs/sites (SugarMyBowl.com, FilipinaMoms.com, and MomViews.net) all of which are more reasons for me to make sure that I am consciously keeping the media ethics and law in mind.

What I got from the workshop is even more than I expected.  Mike Conklin a Chicago Tribune veteran of 35 years was in attendance to share his wisdom amongst MANY others like Christine Tatum, the present editor-in-chief of Infoition News Services who has also served as the past national president of SPJ. So you see, we were truly in good hands. Ms. Tatum herself was kind enough to even give me a one-on-one advice on certain disclaimers that I should have in my product review site, MomViews.net.

Surprisingly enough, there were even seasoned journalists there that are taking refreshers. We were a good mix of participants, but I was the only Mom Blogger. I was for sure that there were more of us going. Everything from reporting and writing basics were covered. We even talked about new tech stuff (my favorite) and looked into many websites that can help you research (research is very important – that’s one way to stay out of trouble). Want to stalk someone? Boy, do I have the sites for you to research that person on! Ok, that’s just a joke. But really, my eyes and ears were opened up to a whole new level.

With all this being said --- I truly recommend that all of you bloggers take this workshop. For a measly small amount of $25.00, it is so worth it! Thank you SPJ for the opportunity. And if you are ever back in Chicago for more Citizen Journalism Academy classes, you can bet that I’ll be there! SPJ Citizen Journalism Academy’s next stop ---- North Carolina and then Los Angeles!  You have got go!  Go to http://www.spj.org/cja.asp for more information.

This is an original Chicago Moms Blog post

MJ Tam also writes in SugarMyBowl.com and is the Founding Editor of FilipinaMoms.com and MomViews.net


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