From the pandemic to protests to everything in between, 2020 has highlighted both the successes and shortcomings in local media. While we’ve worked tirelessly to tell you the important stories of a chaotic year, we could have easily doubled or tripled our coverage. Local media have seen reductions in staff sizes that has led to more stories falling through the cracks, even before the pandemic.

That’s why we need your help.

The Reader is helping to put together “Journalism as Activism: Everyday People Keeping Society Accountable,” an inaugural event that provides people an opportunity to learn about why citizen journalism is the future of media.

The event aims to empower reporters to tell the stories of underrepresented populations through activism and on-the-scene documenting. Through the summit, Omahans will also learn about a summer 2021 program that will further teach principles of citizen journalism to aspiring reporters and documenters.

Held on Sunday, Jan. 17 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the event will take place over Zoom and will also be livestreamed on Facebook. Interested attendees can sign up for their free ticket on Eventbrite. The goal of the event is to share journalism training opportunities with interested Omahans, whether through real-world internship experience or higher education.

The summit, which will feature local presenters, will teach the principles of citizen journalism and how people can get involved in the field. The program will consist of 10 presentations from local journalism experts:

  • Introduction by Dawaune Lamont Hayes, founder and director of NOISE
  • Digging into data by Matt Wynn, USA Today reporter
  • Reporting Basics by Chris Bowling, The Reader news reporter
  • Citizen journalism and activism by Bear Alexander, reporter and ProBLAC organizer
  • The basics of backpack tech by Franque Thompson, Emmy-nominated and Associated Press award-winning reporter at Q13 Fox Seattle
  • Security in reporting by JaKeen Fox, community organizer and owner of JaKeen Fox Solutions
  • The value of documenting by Darryl Holliday, reporter and City Bureau news lab director
  • Broadcast journalism and on-air training by “Buddi3 Da Gawd” (Mark McGaugh), reporter, radio host and record producer
  • Journalism as a career by Karen Weber, UNO School of Communication professor
  • Closing comments by John Heaston of The Reader

Please share the event information with friends, social media followers or with any other journalism-related groups that would be interested. If you have any questions, please email Juli Oberlander at

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Chris Bowling

Chris has worked for The Reader since January 2020. As an investigative reporter and news editor he’s taken deep dives into topics such as police transparency, affordable housing and COVID-19. Originally...

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