Community journalism is a segment of communication focused on local communities, such as neighborhoods, cities, or specific regions. Instead of focusing on the national or international scope, the journalistic practice applied in the communities proposes to report local facts and stories, with the aim of informing, educating and involving the community around social issues. , ecological and political.
In the past, this type of communication involved processes such as making phone calls, sending letters and visiting newsrooms, in addition to requiring access to printed newspapers or radio stations that , at times, were not accessible to most of the audience in question.
“Today, everything is easier. As with other sectors, innovation and digitization also impact independent community journalism,” says Mônica Brandão, Journalism Director at Grupo Mais Maranhão.
“Technological innovations allow us to get closer to our audience. Through social networks, we publish our content and, also through networks, we receive most of the guidelines suggested by the community,” he explains. Grupo Mais Maranhão works with local journalism in the cities of Imperatriz and São Luís and has regional coverage, involving the entire state of Maranhão.
In fact, Brazilians are among the most connected citizens to digital social networks in the world: according to data from FGV (Fundação Getulio Vargas) and IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), there are more smartphones (242 million) than people (214 million) in the country.
Moreover, data published by CupomValido.com.br in 2021, based on data from Hootsuite and WeAreSocial, indicates that there are more 150 million network users in the countrys. The rate of users per total population was 70.3%, one of the highest of any country. Brazil is the third most active country on social mediawith an average of 3h42m per day, behind only the Philippines (4h15m) and Colombia (3h45m), respectively.
How is community journalism done?
“We always try to be in contact with people. For this reason, we receive complaints from the networks and commission public bodies to provide services to the community,” explains Brandão.
According to the Journalism Director of Grupo Mais Maranhão, the company brings together more than a million followers from the most diverse communities in the state of Maranhão. For this, technology is an ally: “Most of the time, the first contact with the public is via the ‘inbox’ on social networks. Thanks to this tool, citizens send images and reports”.
She says that, based on the information sent by the local public, the journalists of the network seek answers from the public authorities and the most diverse sources that are part of the news. “The tools for sending photos, videos and texts in real time have brought several changes to the dynamics of journalism, with implications for verification, investigation and verification – and for independent community press, this does not would be no different,” he explains.
Brandão points out that with technology, everything has become faster. “Something happens and within minutes we have videos and photos sent in by people. It helps, of course. But our vetting process maintains the journalistic rigor of vetting and seeking other ‘voices’ that should be part of the report.
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