Friends of Januária: A Year of Citizen Media

Rio São Francisco

The citizen journalism project “Friends of Januária” began in September and October 2011. Conceived by journalists Amanda Rossi and Jamila Venturini, the project received support from various agencies around the world such as the Association of Friends Januária (ASAJAN) founded by journalist Fábio Oliva (also the project coordinator and instructor), the international organization Rising Voices where our funding came from. There was also support from the NGO Article 19, E. E. Olegario Maciel (provided space for meetings) and more than 80 people who contributed through crowdfunding platform Catharsis.

Course - 2011

During the course of civic education workshops, youth from the city of Januária-MG learned to create and update blogs, write newspaper articles, access online data on public budgets, make information requests, work on social networks in order to inform the population. Besides recording videos throughout the city, the citizen journalists took photos, wrote journals, and made several reports that can be viewed via our blog: www.amigosdejanuaria.wordpress.com.

Now with a year of existence, the “Friends of Januária” has started to expand, relying on an increasing number of readers. In September (our anniversary month of the blog) many activities were held, such as the addition of two new members of the blog (new reporters), commemorative banner on facebook, special articles, and additional complete coverage of the municipal elections that took place in Brazil in 2012.

The purpose of the group “Friends of Januária” is to get more people to inform themselves and by teaching young people ways to monitor the municipal administration of their city. Through a partnership with the International NGO Rising Voices, during the month of September, some stories about the city Januária-MG were highlighted, such as: “Information on the politicians of our city“, “Beauty is not a sign of health,” “Interview with the mayoral candidates” and other reports on the council.

In October, we talked about the reality of the city through the text “Januária, the sun must be born again“, we showed the “Results of Election 2012“, we also analyzed the “ Election” even in neighboring counties. We also informed the public about the need to “Supervise the Elected Politicians“, giving tips on sites and places to get important information for these four years in office.

The numerous materials made by reporters show interest in the fight to access information for all people and show the maturity gained by young people beyond the developments that texts can generate. However, much is still to come, the “Friends of Januária” will continue its work in the coming months and will hold a meeting with members of the site where workshops will take place to improve the technical reports, the addition of two new young reporters, and other activities related to the project’s continuity.

To find out this whole process, just follow our blog (www.amigosdejanuaria.wordpress.com) or stay tuned on our social networks (facebook and twitter).