Course of Study
Because community involvement in journalism is relatively new, my research for the Michener-Deacon Fellowship over the four-month period (during Carleton’s winter term) will involve study on and off Carleton University’s campus. I will take a three-pronged approach to research, including, but not exclusive to: Attending graduate classes at Carleton’s school of Journalism and Communications, examining the role of community and audience, to understand better the historical and traditional role of news organizations and their communities. As well, attending classes on data mining, web scraping, and code script to see how non-traditional journalists (such as online developers) are now becoming more involved in journalistic projects like the Guardian’s Open Data project. Examining news organizations that have embraced the community newsroom model in Canada and the U.S. and how (or if) that engagement has affected their long-term sustainability in their communities. This will involve field research and interviews. Connecting with the public. Using online tools, I will hold regular town halls to discuss my research as I study, and engage my audience on what it thinks its role in the future of journalism should be. While this cannot be the sole source for this Fellowship’s conclusion, it is vital to understanding the public’s view of its connectivity to news organizations.


While researching for this Fellowship, it is essential that I maintain a mentoring role within Carleton’s journalism school. As such, I will teach a multimedia journalism course, and speak when needed in other classes to update my research. I will be available to all students – offline and online – as I conduct my research and will involve them and update them on my findings. One of the most rewarding aspects of lecturing in a post-secondary institution for three years (before Carleton, I taught Media Law at Algonquin College) has been getting to know the students, learning about their habits on consuming news, watching the shifting media landscape and trying to predict where it will go next. Being a journalist-in-residence for Carleton’s winter term will allow me to share my findings with students and include them in an understanding of community and the future of journalism.


Because this research will build on its findings and the level of public discourse I’d like to encourage on this course of study, I plan to blog regularly. This will allow my research to be completely transparent, and enable input from other academics, journalists, students, and the community. It seems only natural that a study of community and journalism should involve the community. As well as regular reports, I plan to host live chats and video conferencing both as research and as reporting tools to a global audience. This blog will clearly outline the goals of my research for the Michener-Deacon Fellowship, and how they align with the aims of the Michener Awards Foundation.

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IV. Lectures
As well as teaching a multimedia journalism course at Carleton University, I will present my major findings on community engagement, citizen journalism and their impact on news organizations at the end of term. This will be streamed live to the Internet and recorded, so that it can be seen beyond Carleton’s campus. In addition, I would like to present my findings to the Citizen’s newsroom and/or at a public speaking event.

V. Returning to the newsroom
Upon completion of the Michener-Deacon Fellowship, I will be able to lead our newsroom’s community engagement efforts. As mentioned above I would like to present my findings to other journalists in our newsroom, and create a strategy that benefits from this extensive look at community, connectivity and its role in our long-term sustainability.

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