Many citizen and community journalism initiatives try to strengthen citizens, their rights and freedoms, but that cannot be done with private technologies and under the philosophy of copyright. It is essential that journalists learn about and practice free and open journalism. That way, information and communication can be democratized. Because of that, we want to train communication professionals, journalists and professors on the use of free technology and open licenses. The training will consist of an online component, then an in-classroom part to produce stories of citizen participation.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
We will work with active journalists, mainly those working in small community radio who work with citizen or community media. This contact will allow the communication professionals to learn to work with open technologies and begin to practice accessible and free journalism. That way, journalists will see the necessity of incorporating the community into the making of news. We will also work with communication professors from different schools, since they will be the teachers of the communication professionals of the future. We will begin to make them aware of the importance of incorporating guidelines into their teaching, so that new communication professionals can practice accessible journalism. Prior to that, they will be given online training about the tools that they are going to use.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
The participants will have to study the training modules online. They will be given access to manuals, texts, videos and audio pieces about the open tools. They will remain in contact to resolve any doubts and to exchange experiences; not only with the teachers, but also among the participants. Later, they will have to gather materials, in text or audio, of positive stories about their communities, about changes obtained through citizen participation. Stories that show work carried out in the communities. In the two-day classroom workshops, they will edit and share the stories. They will be creative and innovative products that give new uses to the platforms. They will work with free online tools, software and platforms, also with open licenses.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established that will contribute to the success of the project.
Radialistas works with community media and radio in Ecuador for their education in Human Rights (with UNDP), the prevention of illnesses and the advancement of health (with DYA) or the prevention of gender-based violence (with UN WOMEN). A result of those workshops is that they keep in contact with journalists to invite them to the workshop. Also, we have alliances with universities (Central, Católica, Salesiana) where we have already held lectures and workshops. We have spoken to many of them about the possibility of doing these trainings and all of the professors have shown interest. Also, the partnership with one of these universities will allow for the official recognition with workshop certificates, so that in the future they can be replicated by the students of them themselves.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
50 people will participate: 25 communication professionals, mainly from radio, and 24 communication professors, but the online course will be published on the Radialistas website so that more people working in communication will benefit. Participants should create innovative products that serve their communities as materials and that encourage new processes. As a part of this project, RadiosLibres.net will be brought out into the open. It is a space for teaching and training about Software, Technologies and Open Culture that we will continue to be used with course participants. You can visit Radioteca.net, the 1st social network for radio and a portal for exchanging audio. The participants will commit to involving their community in the portal to share their experiences with others.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
The use of open software and platforms will be encouraged. Social networks and essential tools for any journalist. We will work through these modules: 1: Why should citizen journalism be free and open? 2: Intellectual Property and Open Culture. 3: GNU/Linux. Ubuntu and Open Office. 4: Audio Libre (Free audio software) Audacity, Radit and Streaming with Raditcast. 5: Diseño Libre (free design software). 6: Free Internet: Firefox, Wordpress, Identi.ca. 7: Free Websites: Flickr, Vimeo and YouTube with licenses. Instant messaging services like Pidgin and GibberBot. CC. 8: Creative productions. Dramatized radio language. Radialistas has been working with free software for three years now. It has been accompanying the migration of broadcasters towards free operating systems by offering training
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
To integrate the process into university education, the workshop will take place in partnership with a university. The institution will have the necessary conditions: Internet (ADSL 1 MB) and classrooms. The participants will be advised to bring their computer so that the programs installed can be used in the future and also so that one computer per participant can be guaranteed. During the online courses, they will be able to download the manuals and materials on the internet, such as videos and audio, but all of this will be given to them on a CD during the workshop.
What is your current relationship with the community with whom you plan to work? What makes you the most appropriate individual or organization to implement this project?
Radialistas works with educational institutions, organizations and community radio. It provides them with resources for their broadcasts and helps them with the teaching and training processes. It relies on various consultants, who addresses their questions and problems. This workshop is nothing more than the continuation, a new offering of the training processes that we are already carrying forward.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
The greatest challenge will be breaking the initial resistance that many communication professionals and teachers have against free and open software. There are myths about it, but now there are quality and professional alternatives for almost all the work done by journalists/radio communicators. This barrier will be broken by showing tools in a simple way beginning with programs that are cross-platform, that is to say, that work also with Windows, i.e. Firefox, Open Office, Audacity. This way the change is not so brusque since they are not initially changing operating systems (Windows for Ubuntu) but only learning new software. Another challenge is the question of money. The course has no cost, but they will have to pay expenses of transportation and accommodation for in-person workshops.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
The impact will be measured by the products that the participants share in platforms such as RadiosLibres.net and Radioteca.net, as well as what the participants make of these tools. Also by the partnerships and the discussions that can be generated on social networks. The movement toward free and open operating systems will be encouraged where the communication professionals work, by guiding and helping them in the process. The creation of new media such as blogs will be encouraged so that the participants practice an accessible and open form of journalism.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2013?
Months 1 and 2: preparation of materials, web platform for the courses and their promotion.
Month 3: Announcement and selection of participants.
Months 4 and 5: Online study of the modules.
Month 6: In-person workshops.
Month 7: Evaluation, reports and closing of the project.
Detail a specific budget of up to $4,000 USD for operating costs.
Coordination of the project: 7 months x $100 = $700
Development of the modules and materials for the course: 8 modules x $200 = $1600
Cost of renting the room: 4 days x $100 = $400
Teaching fees for the workshop: 4 days x 2 teachers x $100= $800
Snacks: 4 days x $50 = $200
Printing, burning discs of materials: $300
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
Promotion of the courses, contribution of ideas about the content of the training modules, establishing partnerships with the participants, since some of the workshop projects or later ones could serve as materials for the platform of Rising Voices, or related projects like Global Voices.
Fundación Radialistas para el Desarrollo Social / Radialistas Apasionadas Y Apasionados. (Radialistas Foundation for Social Development / Passionate Radialistas)