Becoming a producer

citizen journalism

You’ve heard the saying “Be the media?” Well, it’s true! YOU can be a citizen journalist and produce programs for the Oklahoma Activist Public Affairs Network.

(You can also write stories for us, if you prefer the written word, or don’t have the technical resources to record. See this page.)

What is OA-PAN?

It’s like C-Span, only much lower budget, no one gets paid, and it’s just for lefties in Oklahoma. This project is about recording and distributing public education events to give them better exposure, and amplifying the work of our activist organizations that are trying to influence public opinion.

How to get started

First of all, thank you for your interest! Here are some opportunities for stepping into this project (see below for tech tips) that you might consider:

  • Record a speaker, a panel forum, an author’s talk, a legislator’s town hall, anything with a political or civic purpose in the public interest. At your school, your church, your YWCA. Any event that is open to the public should be able to be recorded. If it’s a private event,  even if you personally got an invitation, best to get permission to record, and let them know you will be posting it online “on your blog.” (Even if you don’t get permission, you might want to record it, to expose corruption for instance, but that feature news will be in a different category than we are talking about here.)
  • Ask a person who has valuable experience, knowledge or insight to let you interview them. Was your elderly neighbor from McAlester around when the Prison Riots happened there in 1973? We’d love to hear about it! Did your favorite waitress at the local diner march with Charleton Heston for civil rights in Oklahoma City in the 60’s? It’s important we record some of these local treasures before they pass on.
  • Is an iconic building, or one with historic significance in your small town about to be torn down? Take photos, from every angle, and inside if you can get access.
  •  And so on. Contact us if you have further questions. If you are ready to go, just do it!

About equipment

Not gonna lie, using good equipment to record is the best situation. But you might be surprised at the tools you have already on hand, or that are relatively easy and inexpensive to obtain.

  • Most phones today have some notetaking or recording app. Depending on your phone and provider, sometimes the default app is not great, or has time limitations. If you are on Android, we like the Super Voice Recorder app by LoveKara because it records right to the mp3 format.
  • Phones and tablets have camera’s of course, so use it for more than selfies and cute pics of your dog! Follow the basic photography guidelines about your light source, distance, framing, etc. Don’t overuse the zoom, better to move closer if you can (and you usually can).
  • If you can make a small investment, buy a digital (audio) recorder and/or external microphone. These tools provide a better quality recording when used properly. Or, find a friend who has one and borrow it.
  • If you are a student, you may be able to borrow equipment from your school’s media center.
  • Video is a bit more complicated and expensive to set up and produce, so we’re saving that for it’s own post. But if you already have and know how to use video equipment, you are ready to get to work producing for the Oklahoma Activist Public Affairs Network!

Guidelines and tips

Once you decide to become a citizen journalist and join OA-PAN, you’ll to get set up to post your media content here on the site. The general guidelines will cover much of that, but for PAN content, we’ve got a few additional requests and suggestions.

  • We don’t host the audio or video files here. There are various services for this, like Youtube for video and Soundcloud for audio, but we like archive.org. Once you upload your audio or video file to the service of your choice, take the URL for the file they will provide and insert it into your post. YouTube URLs and URLs with an mp3 extension will automatically created a player within your post edit field. Add descriptive content around it. Remember to think about the Excerpt and Featured Image as described in the general content creation guidelines.
  • Tag your post containing PAN content with the “public affairs” tag (in addition to any other tags you use)
  • even when the bulk of your content is an audio or video recording, you need to wrap it with some descriptive text. Be sure to credit any person, organization or business that hosted the event, or otherwise provided you with assistance in getting the recording. If you can, hyperlink to their websites within your post.
  • We’ll add guidelines and tips as they occur to us, or the need arises. Check back!

 

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