In August, we start some initial workshops with high school learners, to discuss with them what it takes to be “citizen journalists” – contributing content that the mainstream will publish.
What’s more, the content is constrained by being 140 characters long – sms is the method of communications for now. Over the course of 8 workshops, 80 learners in their penultimate school year will be trained about optimum Cit-journ in this way … all over two months.
The workshops, to be run by university journalism students and co-ordinated by colleage Sipho January, will cover the skills of contributing opinions, news and poems by SMS. Grocott’s Mail newspaper will receive and publish the best – bringing youth news direct to the older audience who read the paper.
It’s courtesy our of Knight Challenge grant.
Still to be decided: can the learners write in sms-speak (abbreviations), and the paper unzip these into full language; can they publish in their mother tongue (isiXhosa), when the paper appears in English?
I wrote about recently about the state of the project in my Mail & Guardian column.