Resources for Community Journalists

Resources for Community Journalists

Journalism is a craft. Doing it well takes skills and lots of practice. But we believe anyone can learn the tools it takes to report and write a story. We’ve compiled a list of resources from other places (below), as well as notes and outlines that we have developed for the workshops that we teach. 


• 20/20 for Community Journalists
• More than a blog: Editorial procedures and standards
• TC Daily Planet editorial guidelines (for writers)
• Information for freelance writers


Poynter Online. An essential site for journalists, updated daily and featuring writing and reporting tips, as well as conversation about media issues. Check out The Community Journalism Series, Contributing to a Local Publication. Poynter’s News University is a free, online school for journalists of all levels looking to polish their craft. Courses cover reporting, writing, editing and more.

J-Lab, The Institute for Interactive Journalism is a center of American University’s School of Communication in Washington, D.C. J-Lab helps news organizations and citizens use new information ideas and innovative computer technologies to develop new ways for people to engage in critical public policy issues. J-Lab’s J-Learning site offers lots of teaching modules. J-Lab  Knight Community News Network. A portal that guides ordinary citizens and traditional journalists in responsibly operating community news sites.

Covering Communities. A site to help journalists, educators, students and citizens understand the layers of a community and how to understand and cover them.

Madison Commons Reporter Toolkit. Links to beginning reporter resources with sample stories and definitions.

The Largemouth Citizen Journalism Manual. A collaboration between the Twin Cities Daily Planet and Doug McGill, a former New York Times reporter and Bloomberg News bureau chief in London and Hong Kong. This workshop offers a primer for citizen journalists stiving to meet professional standards with their work.

Center for Citizen Media. A website aimed at helping to enable and encourage grassroots media. The center’s director Dan Gillmor is author of We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, For the People.

Recommended books for writers:

On Writing Well, by William Zinsser.
The Elements of Style
, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.
Writing Tools
, by Roy Peter Clark

OurMedia Learning Center. An educational resource for everything you wanted to know about user-created video, audio, and other forms of citizens’ media.

Multimedia and Technology Training. Tutorials on creating slideshows, shooting video, editing podcasts and many more from the University of California at Berkeley.

iMovie Basics (PDF), a guide created by Ben McGinley for a Twin Cities Media Alliance class.


The Twin Cities Daily Planet welcomes all submissions as it is a center for citizen journalism, encouraging all citizens to participate in its creative process. The gallery emphasis, however, will be on photojournalistic images that visually communicate about something or someone in the greater Twin Cities area. The site is the place where photographers of all levels of expertise can submit individual photos on a theme, or a photo essay with photos in a sequence.