ASL video of journalism as community building

    by Brein McNamara
    July 13, 2008

    Note: This is an entry that I created for my website, providing some explanation to the deaf community of how I’d like to use some of the new journalism methods. Although vastly simplified due to time constraints, they provide the basic idea. I am crossposting here to provide you with both an overall view of my thinking, and an example of how I am currently attempting to post ‘bilingually’ in both ASL and written English.
    Original post here.



    Signcasts is an attempt to find out how to successfully provide news to the deaf community. Of course, the deaf have our own needs, but model and concept of journalism should be the same. The key problem is in finding which model of journalism would work best. The first key to understanding this question is in understanding that the deaf community is not a geographic community, but one of shared interests.

    Communities are formed not through where you live, but through commonality. Commonality can be place, but it also includes similarities like ethnicity, culture, or disability. People are most interested in hearing about their personal interests and connections. When you provide information that connects people through their personal but shared interests, you thus have community news.


    But how can you possibly successfully do community reporting in a non-geographic community? A first stage in the model I am looking at would be to have citizen or participatory journalism, in the sense that you can have people reporting as a representative of a particular area or topic. A further step would be to reject the model of standard, ‘objective’ journalism and fully embrace the idea of civic journalism in the sense of journalism as an advocate of the community.

    The deaf community often contrasts the words ‘for’ and ‘of’. ‘For’ is considered a parochial word, assuming you know what is best. Being ‘of’ the community means you share the concerns of the community. This is what I consider civic journalism. News values are the communities’ values. The interests of the news should be fully in line with the interests of the community itself. This leads to being part ‘of’ the story of the community. Interaction through participation, discussion and action at all levels will help build personal connections, community identity, and connections to the stories and news organization itself.

    I still have to break down what methods to use to best take advantage of these journalistic concepts, but I’ve provided the overall concepts in order to help understand them a little better.

    Tagged: ASL citizen journalism civic journalism Community reporting deaf

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