You can change the way your community, and our state, shares its stories by taking part in Town Square 49. Skeptical? Allow me to explain.
Town Square 49 is an new approach to public media in Alaska: a website that highlights the work of nonprofit and civic organizations and individuals – citizen journalists – in a effort to build a more informed and engaged community.
Chances are you already have experience as a citizen journalist. You may even be practicing every day – you just don’t know it. Are you active and interested in the goings-on in your community? Do you participate in, or follow locally generated social media? Do you seek out news and information about your village, city, borough and state that simply is not covered by traditional media sources?
Maybe you are a photographer. Whether your equipment consists of the newest Canon DSLR – or just your phone – now you can now share your best photos with the community simply by tagging them in Flickr with “townsquare49.”
Or, maybe you’re a budding videographer or filmmaker. Perhaps you’re a visual artist, or a poet, or a playwright. Maybe you’re a volunteer for a local nonprofit or civic group. An avid hiker? An urban vegetable gardener? The point is, your story, no matter how you choose to tell it, can add value to the larger community. But, only if it is heard.
The legendary journalist John S. Knight believed that goal of his profession was “to bestir the people into an awareness of their own condition, provide inspiration for their thoughts and rouse them to pursue their true interests.”
We believe that message is as true today as it ever was. However, in the digital world, the responsibility to meet these information needs – and to inspire ourselves and our community – falls to each of us. As we look to social media for the answer blogs, facebook, twitter (and the list goes on) too many meaningful voices are lost in all the noise and diffusion. This is where Town Square 49 comes in: a platform to highlight the best of what our communities have to offer – as told by the individuals that live there.
Your voice will be the life blood of this experiment. Without citizen voices, audience participation, user generated content – whatever you want to call it – this project does not exist. So, think about it… share a story, become a citizen voice and join the conversation.