Media Learning Seminar


Resource: Community News Sites

Knight Citizen News Network

has a “things we like” feature that highlights specific tools and best practices for community and hyper-local Web sites. Lots of very specific ideas and examples here rather than a broad formula for a site.

Village Soup

operates multiple Web sites that are highly local and feature news, blogs, discussion and voting. See the main site for links to the local community sties. A Knight News Challenge winner, Village Soup is expected to make the code used to develop its sites public in 2009 so other site developers can use it and modify it to build sites. (This is called open source code.)


is a Knight News Challenge projectthat offers news and information at the city block level in a dozen American cities. EveryBlock has developed a program that scrapes the Web fore news and other data of interest, including crime reports, want ads, building permits and restaurant ratings.

EveryBlock has made public the code on which it is based so developers of other projects can use it and adapt it to their needs. ( EveryBlock may also sell hosted packages. In the meantime, you can check out EveryBlock in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phildelphia, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C.


Journalism Training

News University at the Poynter Institute offers a wide range of online journalism classes. Most are free. NewsU recommends these courses for people who have no news gathering experience:

You will find these and other courses on the NewsU Course List. (You must register on NewsU to participate.)

Knight Community News Network highlights successful community news sites and offers learning modules for citizen journalists. Modules include:

Find these and other courses and guides on KCNN's Learning Modules list.

The site also features a map showing the locations of  hundreds of citizen journalism sites where people can look for nearby sources of experience and advice.



The Citizen Media Law Project is a rich source of information about legal issues for community news start ups and citizen journalists. Funded by the Knight Foundation and based at Harvard University, the center has produced an extensive “Citizen Media Legal Guide.” The guide, searchable to topic and by state, has six sections:


News University at the Poynter Instutute offers free online classes related to media law:



News University at Poynter Institute offers online classes in multimedia journalism. Many of them are free.  Check out:

Knight Digital Media Center offers intensive six-day workshops and online tutorials in multimedia.



Niche Sites

Boston Biker

is an example of a niche site with blogs, aggregation and calendar.

Silver Stringers

is a community-centric approach to news coverage and presentation intended to train and equip its members to be reporters, photographers, illustrators, editors, and designers of a localized Web-based publication. It is a partner with MIT Center for Future Civic Media.


Participatory Journalism

Jan Schaffer, J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism

Foundation Blogs

News Games

Visualizing News: Bakersfield Google mash-ups

Search & Find Exercises

Crowdsourcing/Citizen Watchdog

Citizen Media New Voices Grantees

Other CitMedia Sites

Pro/Am, Venture Capital Sites

Think Tanks, Non-Profit Groups

Civic Impact

J-Lab Sites


Social Media


Social networking allows people to share information, photos and other materials and talk about them online. There are many free social networking tools, including


News University offers several low-cost Webinars on social media. Titles include:


Web Development


J-Learning is a Web site designed specifically to help citizen news sites get started. It offers a four-step site development process: 1. Plan It, 2. Build It, 3. Present It, 4. Promote It.


Content management systems are a core component of Web site development. A number of systems are open source, which means the underlying code and instructions are public and developers can modify them to suit a particular project. Open-source products often have robust support communities that share information and development advice.  These are widely used tools:


Impact and Evaluation 

MLS2009: 'Understanding impact - information and communities'

by Mayur Patel