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Costa Rica: Citizen Journalism Has Yet To Reach Its Full Potential

From local bloggers to professional journalists to those that simply follow the media, everybody is waiting for the The First International Encounter of Citizen Journalism sponsored by Periodismo Ciudadano [es] and the Department of Collective Communication Studies at the Costa Rican University. The event will take place in San José on November 17th. Despite the fact that a considerable percentage of Costa Ricans have access to internet and related communication tools, citizen journalism is still not being developed at its highest and most desirable level.

Cristian Cambronero offers a quick description of the event in his site Fusil de Chispas [es]:

Entre los participantes como panelistas, habrá periodistas, bloggers, investigadores sociales y por supuesto: periodistas ciudadanos que han puesto en marcha emprendedores proyectos en línea. La asistencia estará limitada a 100 participantes, no se cobrará nada, pero las inscripciones estarán sujetas a aprobación.

Amongt the panel participants, there will be professional journalists, bloggers, social investigators and of course: citizen journalists that have been working on online projects of their own. Attendance is limited to 100 participants, there is no cost, but the registrations are subject to approval.

The official site of the event shows a complete view of the activities, with the event's objectives and other important details. According to Manuel Maqueda at Periodismo Ciudadano [es]:

La información ha dejado de ser vertical y está adoptando un modelo conversacional a escala global, con efectos inmediatos sobre la inteligencia colectiva, la formación de opinión, la libertad de información, la transparencia democrática y la participación popular en el devenir social y político.

The information is no longer vertical and it is adopting a conversational model on a global scale, and the immediate effects will be reflected on the collective intelligence, the shaping of opinions, the freedom of information, democratic transparency, and popular participation on social and political matters.

The site also offers a video-invitation with Maqueda, one of the organizers, who said:

El primer evento se celebrará el domingo 16 de noviembre en el Cuartel de la Boca del Monte en San José. Lo hemos denominado Red y Cervezas 2.0 y como el nombre sugiere es un encuentro informal para conocerse para intercambiar ideas y para establecer relación con otras personas. El día siguiente, lunes 17 de noviembre es el Primer Encuentro Internacional de Periodismo Ciudadano en Costa Rica. Es una agenda muy interesante e intensa llena de ponencias y debates.

The first celebration will be on November the 16th. We are calling it Networks and Beers 2.0 and as the name suggests, it is an informal encounter to meet one another and exchange ideas by establishing connection with other people. The next day, on November the 17th is the First International Gathering of Citizen Journalism in Costa Rica. The agenda is really interesting and intense, full of debates and experiences.

Although journalism is still primarily considered a trained profession, there are other alternative activities that can be powered using citizen journalism principles. Journalist and professor Gabriela Mayorga points out her plans and thoughts regarding education and Citizen Journalism on her blog Lo Imaginado [es]:

Tengo planeado un curso de extensión docente en la UCR (Universidad de Costa Rica) para facilitar a profesores el uso de algunas herramientas web para sus lecciones.

I am planning an extension course at the UCR (Universidad de Costa Rica) for professors to promote the use of some web tools for use in their lessons.

Gabriela also makes a little research on Citizen Journalism and finds some good examples on how news coverage can be reached by any one.

Los profesores también están pensando en cómo utilizar los dispositivos móviles que los estudiantes ya llevan con ellos -uso del celular para grabar el audio, o uso de la función de vídeo de una cámara fotográfica digital.

Teachers are also thinking about the utilization of mobile gadgets that students are already carrying with them –cellphones for audio recording, or using the video function of a digital camera.

Modern citizen journalism evokes the engagement of traditional media with networking investigation, which surely may improve, not only the processing of information, but material distribution. By including members of the community through feedback through communication, expectations will grow, but knowledge will also be enriched.

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