07/13/2009

If Working with Bureaucracies was Easy, We wouldn’t Need Reporters…

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Adventures in Citizen Journalism | Mother Jones.

This is an interesting recounting of what happened to a guy who set out to help with a crowdsourced reporting story.

So, fellow citizen journalists, I’m stumped. If I had the time, I’d head over to CalDOT District 4 in Oakland and grab some face time with ole Bob Haus, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Beyond my own journalistic limitations, it got me thinking, though, whether this was a fairly typical situation, and how Amanda had gotten around it in the past. And also if it was typical, I wondered how reliable the fact base was that’s developed on this kind of “research”?

As someone who was a citizen activist in Chicago in the 1980s, and worked with the former “Dean of City Council” Anthony J. Laurino, as well as the Park District, Streets and San, etc. etc. I can only say, if this “citizen journalist” thinks that all you do is call a guy once or twice, he just doesn’t know bureaucratic intransigence. Keep calling. Call every 10 mins., fill the guy’s voice mail. Call his boss and underlings. Gosh, I wasn’t a reporter when I was working with the North Mayfair Improvement Ass’n., but I knew you had to use Saul Alinsky kind of persistence to get results. Don’t give up so easy. These bureaucrats work for you and take your tax money as salary. Make them answer you, whether you are a reporter or just a curious citizen.

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