Putting Open Source tools to work for community reporting
June 13th, 2008 by Tom Johnson

The phrases “community journalism” and “convergence journalism” have been around for decades (in the case of the former) and at least 10 years in the case of the latter.  For a long time, “community journalism” referred to the publishing of “…a small daily, 20,000 or less, or maybe a larger weekly or twice- or thrice-weekly.” And “convergence” most often talked about using various print and Audio/Visual media to deliver the same old reportorial product of traditional newspapers and broadcast.

Finally, some are starting to see that the real and much-needed “convergence” has to be implemented on the front-end of the reportorial process.  Paul Niwa, at Emerson College, has done just that with some graduate students who created  And we are grateful to Niwa for writing a “how and why we did it” piece for the current issue of the Convergence Newsletter.

Here's Niwa's lede, but do check out the entire piece:

“Community Embraces a Converged Journalism-Sourcing Project

By Paul Niwa, Emerson College

Boston’s Chinatown is one of the largest and oldest Asian American neighborhoods in the country. Yet, this community of 40,000 does not even have a weekly newspaper. Coverage of the neighborhood in the city’s metropolitan dailies is also weak. In 2006, The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald mentioned Chinatown in 78 articles. Only 16 percent of the sources quoted in those articles were Asian American, indicating that newspapers relied on information from non-residents to cover the neighborhood. With all this in mind, I created the project as an experiment to build a common sourcebook for newsrooms.” 


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