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WV Uncovered workshop to help train citizen journalists

West Virginia Uncovered
Members of the West Virginia Uncovered digital journalism project at West Virginia University’s P.I. Reed School of Journalism are empowering West Virginia citizens to cover their communities for their local newspapers.

Beginning this fall, the West Virginia Uncovered team will hold a series of community photography workshops with participating newspapers around the state. The first workshop, co-sponsored by the Hampshire Review, will be held Friday, Oct. 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hampshire County Public Library in Romney.

The photography workshops are designed to teach community members how to take better photos with their personal cameras. Attendees will also learn what makes a good photo, what types of photos newspapers are looking for and how to use free software to edit them prior to submission.

West Virginia Uncovered project coordinator, Mary Kay McFarland, says online newspapers are giving citizens a voice like never before.

“Newspapers are the hub of information for a community,” said McFarland. “It gives them a place to start conversations. By submitting their photos, they can better share the way they view their community.”

Hampshire Review editor Sallie See agrees. She has already seen the need for citizen journalism at her own newspaper.

“Earlier this summer, a tractor trailer struck and killed a very large black bear on US Rt. 50 in the eastern end of the county. Due to the distance, we couldn’t get there in time to get a photo, but a local resident at the scene took pictures on her cell phone and emailed them to us,” said See. “We were able to use them in our story. So, it [citizen journalism] is very helpful – it helps us tell the story.”

The Hampshire Review is one of more than 12 participating newspapers in the West Virginia Uncovered project, which was started in 2008 to help the state’s rural newspapers adapt to the demands and opportunities of the digital age.

Friday’s workshop is open to the public and is free of charge. Recently, the project was awarded a $105,000 grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, part of which will help pay for the workshops. Plans are in the works for a second photography workshop in the spring of 2011.

Read the official press release on WVU Today.