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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday February 22nd 2024

Community Journalism is a Tool for Justice and Community-Building

By CIRIEN SAADEH, Journalism of Color Training Center

Over the next few months the alley newspaper will be working alongside the Journalism of Color Training Center and Phillips West Neighborhood Organization to offer a series of free community journalism training workshops (see announcement on Community Journalism Tab). These workshops are an opportunity for every one of us to explore the power and purpose of community journalism.


The journalism produced by the Star Tribune or Minnesota Public Radio is not the same as community journalism, yet most of us do not have the opportunity to learn how the alley (or any other local community-specific news organization) differs from those big news sources we tend to hear most about. Community newspapers like the alley, North News, or the Minnesota Women’s Press, for example, serve a specific community that shares common interests or shared experiences.


Community journalism also functions differently than traditional legacy or mainstream news sources. While mainstream news organizations are staffed by professional journalists, community news organizations are often made up of folks with both professional experience and those with grassroots “do it yourself” (DIY)-style experience. In short, organizations like Alley Communications, nonprofit publisher of the alley, bring together people with professional experience (in journalism or otherwise) with folks like you who want to tell stories about your community, and to counter some of the unjust (and inaccurate) stories that present a picture of the community that doesn’t feel or look right to those within it.
These community journalism workshops are an opportunity to bring more members of the Phillips Community into the alley’s community, as reporters and writers and storytellers. Each training, no matter the theme, will give folks the opportunity to connect with each other, to learn more about how community journalism operates, and how they can participate in local community journalism through the alley and other organizations. Each training is experiential, discussion focused, and that means everyone will have the opportunity to get hands-on practice.


Following the training series, we’ll bring ten participants from the workshops into a publishing project as we put together a special edition of the alley entirely written by community journalists-in-training, with support from project partners. More on this later!

Dr. Cirien Saadeh (she/they) is an Arab-American journalist and educator who works at the intersections of journalism, social movement development, experiential education, and sustainability. The Journalism of Color Training Center is a journalism support organization, community journalism school, and – launching soon – a newsroom that supports the efforts of communities building anti-racist newsrooms, anti-racist freelance journalists, and existing newsrooms seeking to build towards anti-racist practices and processes.

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