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Citizen Journalists Go Mainstream – Broadcasting & Cable

Belmont University’s Paul Chenoweth is featured prominently in a story in the current edition of Broadcasting & Cable magazine about grassroots video journalism. Chenoweth, web developer in Belmont’s information technology department, also a graduate student working toward his M.Ed degree with a focus on learning communities and online communities.


Here are some excerpts from the story:

Paul Chenoweth never leaves home without his digital camera or video camera. A graduate student at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., he shoots video and photos around town and posts them to his technology-themed Weblog, Chasing the Dragon’s Tail. Chenoweth is particularly proud of a piece he filmed recently in Rio das Pedras, Brazil, where a group from the local Brentwood Baptist Church helped construct a new church.
Chenoweth is not a reporter or cameraman but a one-man news crew among a growing number of citizen journalists now exploiting the efficiency of cheap, portable gadgets and the instant speed and spread of publishing on the Internet, particularly on Web logs (or blogs). It’s vox populi meets reality TV.
“There are other people besides journalists that have a voice,” Chenoweth says, “and they aren’t being heard on the news.”
A handful of TV-news companies are cultivating relationships with contributors.
In Nashville, WKRN is going a step further. The station not only is soliciting video but is also training locals. In July, it hosted 20 area bloggers, including Chenoweth, for a crash course in video production. At the workshop, station photographers gave instruction on basic videography and critiqued the students’ work. “The biggest problem is that people shoot great images but it’s shaky and they zoom in and out,” says Terry Heaton, a TV-news consultant working with WKRN. “If they find themselves in a spot-news situation, we want it to be usable.”
The workshop also gives WKRN a chance to screen bloggers as potential sources. “We’ve started relationships with them,” says station President Mike Sechrist. For example, he says, “if Paul [Chenoweth] sent me video, I’d have high confidence using it.”

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Read the whole story at Broadcasting & Cable’s website here.