On November 2, people from across the state are invited to learn how they can master online tools and techniques for telling their story.  During Superstorm Sandy we watched stories of crises and heartbreak unfold on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; watching as our homes collapsed and roller coasters washed out to sea.  With the power outages hitting nearly the entire state, people turned to their smartphones to stay connected with what was happening.

Today, even more people are getting their news and information from online sources.  So if you have a story to tell, or a message for FEMA and the New Jersey authorities, or a pressing issue for your neighbors – you have to take your message to where the people are, online.

Which is why The Citizens Campaign, NJ News Commons, Jersey Shore Hurricane News, Monmouth University, and Creative NJ are co-hosting a free training on the tools and techniques for communicating online.

Social_Media_Image_Monmouth_Event.JPGIt Takes a Village: Working Together Online” will be Saturday, November 2 from 9am-1pm at Monmouth University’s Club at Magill Commons in West Long Branch. The session is focused on teaching people how to use basic online tools that are available to everyone, as well as new techniques for telling a compelling story.

Presenters include Debra Galant, Director of NJ News Commons and founder of one of the most successful online news sites in the country Baristanet.com; Justin Auciello, Founder and publisher of the Jersey Shore Hurricane News Facebook page; Kenny Katzgrau, founder of Broadstreet Ads; Steve Stirling, reporter for The Star-Ledger and co-author of the Sandy Recovery Scorecard; Steve Johnson, multimedia journalism professor at Montclair State University and former statewide Patch.com editor; and Adam Glenn, Editor of AdaptNY and CUNY Graduate School of Journalism professor.

To understand the power of online media, one needs to look no farther than Justin Auciello, founder of Jersey Shore Hurricane News – which has managed to earn more than 200,000 followers in just two years for its consistent quality coverage of breaking news at the shore region.  Any person could follow in Justin’s footsteps.   Together with AdaptNY’s Adam Glenn, they will show attendees how to smartly crowdsource news – filtering out the fact from fiction to ultimately get the story.  

Debra Galant, as founder of baristanet.com has a wealth of expertise and insight on what it takes to start and manage a local blog. Whether it be a monthly column on a news site, or a stand-alone hyperlocal news site, Deborah knows it all. With Kenny Katzgrau, they will walk participants through the process of starting a blog, and opportunities to promote and possibly raise revenue online.

Another powerful tool for citizens is creating a story using visuals – which is why we’ve asked The Star-Ledger’s Steve Stirling to discuss Mapping out a Story and Montclair State University’s Steve Johnson to teach photo & video journalism.  Sometimes words are not enough, and it takes a photo, graph, or map to comprehend the reality of a story. Reporting a roller coaster was in the Atlantic Ocean, was not nearly as powerful as the actual photo. Same as creating a map of all the blighted properties in a neighborhood can be a much more compelling than a list of homes, and it may even lead to more stories like whether or not certain areas are being neglected.

REGISTER_BUTTON.JPGThis event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. To register CLICK HERE or call (732) 548-9798.  Morning refreshments and lunch will be provided to our guests at no costs.

The event is supported in part by the NJ Recovery Fund, which focuses on building stronger and more engaged communities in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. By empowering citizens with the skills and know-how to collect and share information, we can foster greater civic engagement and ensure the public is informed about recovery decisions.

A previous training with WHYY/Newsworks was held at Ocean County College on October 5. Another training is scheduled for November 16with NJ Spotlight and WNYC at Middlesex County College. For more on these events, visit thecitizenscampaign.org.

Additional sponsors of the series include: Creative New Jersey, Sustainable Jersey, WNYC, NJ News Commons, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Community Foundation of New Jersey, and the Rita Allen Foundation.