Manitobans have many stories to tell. Community website brings these precious insights to a responsive public.
By Noah Erenberg
It began innocently enough as a short email sent to a couple of dozen coworkers. Within hours it turned into a story read by tens of thousands all over the world, inspiring some to do random acts of kindness.
By now, most of us have heard of the Winnipeg bus driver who briefly halted his route in order to climb off his bus and give away his own shoes to a barefooted street person near the corner of Portage and Main on a cold September morning. What most people didn’t realize was that the story was originally written by a citizen reporter for a new public media website in Winnipeg called, Community News Commons (www.cncwpg.org).
After first reporting the details of this extraordinary occurrence in an article on the CNC website http://www.communitynewscommons.org/our-city/health-safety/winnipeg-transit-drivers-amazing-act-of-kindness-stuns-passengers, volunteer citizen journalist Denise Campbell was inundated for a week with requests to retell her tale to local and national media outlets. Her account inspired many to do other acts of kindness in their everyday lives.
It was just one example of the impact a story can have on people far and wide. It also highlighted the many stories that citizens all over Winnipeg and across Manitoba want to tell. And it underscored the reason The Winnipeg Foundation started CNC in the first place.
Community News Commons is for anyone interested in becoming a citizen journalist and learning how to make multi-media that’s creative, engaging and informative. If you are inspired to tell stories about what’s important to you and your community, and about things you see everyday that others might not notice, you may want to join a growing group of citizen reporters who contribute content to CNC, the public media website that’s authored by and for the people of Winnipeg and Manitoba.
Sponsored by The Winnipeg Foundation and by Knight Foundation, CNC has partnered with the Winnipeg Public Library, Red River College and the Winnipeg Free Press and Free Press News Café, to help citizens of all ages and abilities in creating articles, videos, photos and audio about issues that matter to their community. It’s an opportunity for anyone to receive free training and ongoing editorial mentorship in how to be a better storyteller, and how to best share what’s important in his or her neighbourhood, and learn about what’s happening in other neighbourhoods.
Training by professional journalists in all aspects of digital journalism is offered at no charge at the Millennium Library and at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café. Community engagement sessions, town hall forums and other free events are sponsored by CNC regularly throughout the year.
To take part in this project and to be notified of future events, go to http://www.cncwpg.org and click “Become A Citizen Reporter” which registers you with CNC. You can also contact the convener of this project, Noah Erenberg, at 204-223-6624 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In creating CNC, the Winnipeg Foundation acted in the belief that a more informed and engaged community is a more caring and giving community, building the capacity that creates stronger, healthier neighbourhoods.