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Voice of Nosara's Editor Meets with New York Times Editor Mary Ann Giordano

By Emma Canarick

In late April, the Voice of Nosara's editor Emiliana Garcia spent five weeks on sabbatical in New York City, NY, US, studying current journalism methods, particularly community-based news organizations that focus on local news and opinions.

Ms. Garcia studied with the New York Times' Mary Ann Giordano, an editor for their online newsroom, with expertise in hyper-local news and information. Ms. Garcia's study included the development of community journalism as part of a newspaper's broader reach, as well as the building of a blogger community – two initiatives the Voice of Nosara plans to undertake in the next couple of years.

Ms. Garcia also had the rare honor of visiting the New York Times' online news operations, meeting with Ms. Giordano and her editorial staff. Ms. Garcia met with reporters and contributors who are working on-the-ground to gather local news and opinions and build that into news features for both the New York Times print issues and its vast online presence.

The first NY Times local blogs started in  2009.  Fort Greene and Clinton Hill http://fort-greene.thelocal.nytimes.com was one of the first, and its content is developed in collaboration with the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism and local citizens in Brooklyn.  In September, 2010, the NYT created the East Village Blog http://eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com

When asked about the beginning of The Local, Giardino said it was "hard and challenging" because they only had one reporter from the paper who was in charge of content. After one year of hard work with the Fort Greene blog, they decided to change the strategy and bring in two of the best NY journalism universities. They offered all their archives and the citizen freelance writers (which were more than one hundred by then) to CUNY, and then, they made a proposal to New York University to open a new blog in Manhattan: East Village.

The Universities brought the students on board to report and the NYT, with editor Giardino, provided supervision to ensure that the blog remains impartial, reporting-based, thorough and rooted in Times standards. "We never expected to make money, we did it for the experience," said Giardino.

Many challenges arose during the past two years and Giardino now can say that one of the keys to a successful citizen journalism based website is to "educate the public on how to participate and emphasize how journalists think. They (the citizen) should understand why we edit, why we double check, why we search for more sources," said Giardino.

Ms. Garcia asked Giardino to address the future of citizen journalism. "I see citizen journalists as partners with trained professionals. They can be the extra pair of eyes and legs that accomplish many tasks that journalist have to do. They won't replace the reporters, but the story becomes more complete in the comments that follow, in the reaction of the community," replied Giardino.

As many readers know, the Voice of Nosara has spent the last two years building a website (www.voiceofnosara.com) to both build a readership that extends beyond the borders of Nosara as well as to leverage the platform of the internet to solicit community news and opinions in real time. As Ms. Garcia learned in her visit to New York City, important community news is happening all the time and in order to have a vibrant local engagement, the Voice of Nosara must publish news and updates in real-time. Even more, the website provides the Voice of Nosara the opportunity to build a community of local contributors (drawn from our own readership) who can comment on articles directly to the site or through their Facebook profiles.

"This was a wonderful trip overall and an exciting start for the continued growth and development of the Voice of Nosara," Ms. Garcia said.


More Community News

Parenting Today: How Can I Help My Child Discover And Learn

A child and his dad walk down the street towards the beach. The dad walks in a straight, purposeful line. The child teeters on the edge of the sidewalk, arms stretched out, pretending to be balanced on a high wire. The child jumps down, suddenly and inspects something crawling on the ground, while the father continues walking, only to pause briefly to tell his child to hurry along. The dad doesn’t understand why it takes so long to simply walk for one point to another. What the dad doesn’t know is that twenty-five years earlier, this exact scene played out with himself and his father!

The Closure of Our Dump

Costa Rica is described as a "Developing Nation". Nosara is proof that developing doesn't always occurr in an equitable, rational or responsible manner. The road to development is often full of political potholes so deep that some communities move backwards rather than forwards. Nosara has a new pothole that will set us back considerably.

The fantasy world of stories invaded Samara and Nosara
• Storytelling Ana Coralia Fernandez, won the hearts of children and adults

Some children came with their mother, others with their father, and some came on their own to sit and listen enthralled as professional storyteller Ana Coralia Fernandez told them about Don Chancho’s attempts to impress his girlfriend by putting on a lion’s mane, a fox’s tale and a zebra’s stripes, only to scare his girlfriend by his monstrous appearance. In the end, he learned that she loved him but she wanted him as he was.

Samara Police Move Into Renovated
Police Station

• Community contributed $1700

On Saturday, April 16, the police rejoiced as they moved back into the renovated Samara police station, more than 2 months after the facility was closed by the Ministry of Health. On January 14th, the Ministry of Health issued an order to the Samara Public Force to move out of the facility, and renovations began on Thursday, February 10.

Nicoya's Airfield
Lack of illumination Puts Night Flights in Danger

Even though Civil Aviation completed 900 million colones ($1.8 million) worth of improvements to the airfield in Nicoya. The airport renovation project, as described before it was begun included construction of the runway, asphalt, demarcaion and illumination.

Community Hustles to Reopen Nosara Police Station
Nosara Development Association invests another $1000

At the same time that the Samara police were rejoicing and moving back into their police station, the Nosara police suddenly found themselves with their hands tied when the Ministry of Health shut their station down on Thursday, April 14 and restricted them from receiving anyone in the building. This left the police without any way to attend to the public or anywhere to detain prisoners.

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