A Life in Citizen Journalism

Kev Hedges 2m 408

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Having been made redundant for a fourth time in a career that had only just past half way of my working life, I decided that getting angry and frustrated was not going to keep my prospects of working up until a happy retirement any better. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t about to let those middle management head choppers get away with scything down 60 percent of my department to save the company some money. I planned to blog, write and expose the injustice on line as qualified skilled writer. That’s when I decided to get into citizen journalism.

Several months later after I had calmed down a lot, a friend of mine who built websites from home said there was an opportunity to write news articles and become a citizen journalist – providing one has the necessary reporting style the editors were looking for! I checked out the website where journalists were being sought and was a little dismayed at first to find they were based in Toronto, Canada.

But my mind was soon put at rest when one of the editors contacted me personally and said he was desperate for a reporter that could cover breaking news stories, conduct interviews and attend shows and gigs in and around the London area, and follow up these experiences with images, news reports and journals to be published on its web pages. Digital Journal has more than 25,000 active members who contribute through its forums, and/or in many cases report from around the world as a journalist.

It was on my first day, following acceptance as a journalist, that I was riding out to town on my bike on a warm autumn day when renovation workers, dredging a local pond in my home town, had unearthed a live grenade! There were helicopters and police had cordoned the area off from the general public. All I could think of was, “what a scoop!” I asked a security guy who was wrapping the police line tape across the public pond what was going down and he told me, “It’s an explosive device, possibly a grenade. We think it may have been left over from World War Two.”

It was detonated during a small explosion around two days later and even filmed by a member of the public on her mobile phone. If I remember rightly it made its way onto YouTube, but I made sure it began my career as a citizen journalist.



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