#GivingTuesday 2014: Celebrate All Things Winged with The Raptor Trust

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Scoured the shelves for deals on Black Friday? Gearing up for gadget buying on Cyber Monday? Don’t forget to honor the most important day of this week (after Thanksgiving, of course), Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is a call to action, a national day of giving around the annual shopping and spending season. The third annual #GivingTuesday will take place on this coming Tuesday December 2, 2014.

GT_Street-wall_2014#GivingTuesday is a day for giving back, to write a check to a worthwhile cause or to donate your time and expertise to charity. #GivingTuesday, where global charities, families, businesses, community centers, students and more have come together to shape a new movement. A movement so compelling that the White House has taken notice.

A day that inspires personal philanthropy and encourages bigger, better and smarter charitable giving during the holiday season. A day that proves that the holidays can be about both giving and giving back.

Show your support for Giving Tuesday by taking a photo and uploading it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #UNselfie. For more information, check out the short YouTube video below or visit #GivingTuesday on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

On Giving Tuesday 2014, I have decided to give back to the birds in my home state. One of my favorite organizations working specifically on avian rehabilitation and education is The Raptor Trust. My sister and I visited the Trust back in May of this year and had an incredible day. Everyone on staff was extremely friendly and enthusiastically answered our questions about the birds of prey in their care. Even the volunteer working the at gift shop was proud to discuss the history of the Trust and their birds with us.  For those birds that would not survive if they were released, The Raptor Trust property has become their home. We were able to see these residents up close and personal. The birds were so beautiful that we walked through the Trust twice to be sure we didn’t miss anybody!

Vilma, The Raptor Trust's Barred Owl plays a key role in the organization's educational programs. Photo by Joy Yagid.

Vilma, The Raptor Trust’s Barred Owl plays a key role in the organization’s educational programs. Photo by Joy Yagid.

Officially founded in 1983, The Raptor Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and one of the premier wild bird rehabilitation centers in the United States.

Located in Millington, NJ, the Trust property includes a hospital with state-of-the-art medical facilities, quality exterior housing for several hundred birds, and an education building. For three decades, the Trust has worked tirelessly to fulfill it’s mission:

  • To provide free care and assistance to injured, sick, or orphaned wild birds.
  • To educate people about wild birds, especially birds of prey.
  • To provide a humane example for others.
The Raptor Trust Director Chris Soucy. Photo Credit: NewJerseyHills.com.

The Raptor Trust Director Chris Soucy. Photo Credit: NewJerseyHills.com.

20-something Environmentalist sat down with Director of The Raptor Trust, Chris Soucy, and asked what continues to motivate and inspire the work that he is doing.

Chris explained, “One of the greatest rewards in our work is to be able to release a bird back into the wild after we have cared for it. The birds come to us sick, injured or orphaned bird in great numbers – as many as 4,000 each year.  It takes a huge team of dedicated volunteers, along with a medical staff, veterinarians, educators and administrative help to run the center. These caring people put their hearts and souls into the work we do. Because we are successful more often than not in releasing our patients back into the wild where they belong, the rewarding feeling that comes from it happens all the time – for our staff and volunteers, for the people who find injured birds and bring them to us, and no doubt for the birds themselves.”

Red-Tailed Hawk Release. Photo from The Raptor Trust's Facebook page.

Red-Tailed Hawk Release. Photo from The Raptor Trust’s Facebook page.

Chris went on to explain, “In our 32+ year history we have cared for over 90,000 wild birds and released more than half of them back into the wild. On site, we have a full-service medical center and a education center where we present programs to thousands of visitors each year about birds, wildlife and conservation.  Our center is open to the public year round, and visitors here can see hawks, falcons, eagles and vultures up close and learn about what amazing and ecologically important creatures they are.”

Please consider The Raptor Trust when making your year-end gifts this #GivingTuesday and throughout the holiday season. Help them help all things winged.

To learn how to get involved with The Raptor Trust, and for more amazing photographs of birds of prey, like them on Facebook.

Here are a few other excellent New Jersey organizations working on
wildlife issues:

This #GivingTuesday, Tuesday, December 2, 2014, consider making an impact on the world. Choose an issue that you are passionate and donate your time or funds to organizations that are part of the solution. Be a force for good.

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20 Tips for Young Professionals to Keep in Mind at Their First Job

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Congratulations, Class of 2014! Whether you are headed to a nonprofit, government agency, or private company, here are some tips that I feel are worth sharing.

Photo Credit: www.comsoc.org

Photo Credit: http://www.comsoc.org

    • Always bring a notebook and pen/pencil to a meeting, even if it’s a short, informal discussion.  You never know when you will need to write something down.

 

    • During each staff meeting, take down your ‘action items’ on your meeting agenda. These are items that you need to act on after the meeting, whether it is something your supervisor asked you to look into or follow-up on or a task that you volunteered for. This way you know exactly what you’re responsible for completing.

 

    • It’s also not a bad idea to keep a ‘daily activities log’ and record what you complete each day.  It will help you stay organized and multitask efficiently.

 

    • Don’t be late…but if you are going to be late, send a text/email or call the office.

 

    • If you aren’t sure how to dress for a meeting or conference, dress more formally than you think you need to. Better to be overdressed than under-dressed, especially as a young professional.

 

    • Be careful what you post on your personal social media. If it feels like you maybe shouldn’t post that photo or status update, don’t. You are a young professional and want your colleagues to take you seriously, so keep that in mind when you are on the internet.

 

    • If you aren’t sure about something, or something doesn’t feel right, ask before you do anything.

 

    • For your first couple of months on the job, do as much listening as possible, that way you can learn about the organization’s work and office culture.

 

    • Don’t eat during meetings, unless it is explicitly said that it’s okay or everyone else is eating.

 

    • If you are available, check your e-mail over the weekend if you have a couple minutes and pick up your phone if one of your colleagues calls you. This will show that you are responsible and dependable.

 

    • Give interns meaningful projects and give them context and background for those projects.  Explain to them why they are doing what they are doing, so they can learn and build their skill set. As much as they are helping you, you should help them too.

 

    • Don’t drink at work events. If everyone else is having a drink, have one and sip it.

 

    • Don’t eat lunch at your desk…once you start, you won’t be able to stop. You’ll be much more productive in the afternoon if you take some time to change your surroundings. Going for a short walk on a nice day was always one of my favorites.

 

    • If you need help or are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help in a calm, professional way. It will help you in the long run.

 

    • Take on new projects with enthusiasm.

 

    • Learn as much as you can from your colleagues. You are surrounded by amazing talent and expertise.

 

    • Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. Read your writing aloud to yourself.  Print a copy and take a red pen to it. Ask someone for another set of eyes on it. Always, always, always check your links in any email or document.

 

    • Remember that you are a representative of an organization with an excellent reputation.

 

    • Take photos and notes at conferences, events, and meetings.

 

  • Make lists, keep records and files, color code. Stay organized.

Living Below the Poverty Line on Food and Drink for 5 Days

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Have you gone a day without buying anything? In a few of my courses back in college, we discussed the environmental impact of consumption, particularly in America. The concept of going days without purchasing anything new stuck with me and I have tried to carry it out as best I can. Which is one of the reasons why, when I was presented with the Live Below the Line challenge, I thought I could do it.

I heard about Live Below the Line through my job as a nonprofit communicator at The Hunger Project. The Global Poverty Project called upon citizens to live below the poverty line and spend $1.50 a day on food and drink for five days. From April 28-May 2, thousands of people around the world, including me, took the Live Below the Line challenge to raise funds and awareness for the 1.2 billion people in our world who live in extreme poverty.

I spent the week before Live Below the Line “preparing.” I overindulged in hopes of gaining a few pounds to help me get through the challenge. I also did some spring cleaning and donated three garbage bags full of clothes and shoes to a local charity.


Day 1: Spent $1.50 total on food and drink

The first meal of the first day I learned something surprising. The Stevia packets that I put in my tea each morning cost as much as the tea bag itself. Instead of my usual three packets per thermos of tea, I chose to only use one. I didn’t have the budget to spend 20 cents on tea.

Breakfast:
5 cents Stevia packet
5 cents Tetley tea bag
19 cents hardboiled egg
29 cents total

Our potluck

Our potluck!

A number of us in The Hunger Project global office decided to take on the challenge together under the theme “community.” I was so lucky to have such talented colleagues cook amazing meals for lunch each day! We shared them potluck style and ate together. One of my favorite things about the Live Below the Line challenge was spending time with my colleagues and offering each other support.

IMG_4944Lunch:
32 cents three-quarter serving fried rice with vegetables
20 cents half serving beans, tomato and kale recipe
52 cents total

Snack:
19 cents hardboiled egg

For my first Live Below the Line dinner I wanted to price out a meal I often ate in college: buttered noodles with grated cheese.

IMG_4947Dinner:
22 cents two servings of penne
9 cents half tablespoon melted organic butter
9 cents one serving grated cheese
10 cents tea with one Stevia packet
50 cents total


Day 2: Spent $1.50 total on food and drink

Breakfast:
5 cents Stevia packet
5 cents Tetley tea bag
19 cents hardboiled egg
29 cents total

IMG_4951Lunch:
32 cents half serving sesame noodles
20 cents half serving beans, tomato and kale
52 cents total


Snack
:
19 cents hardboiled egg

On Day 2, I thought a lot about all of the expenses I had that week that did not fit into my budget for food and drink. I paid my rent, bought feminine products, and spent $22 a day commuting to and from my job. I couldn’t imagine living on a $1.50 a day, every day, for everything.

I made more hardboiled eggs on the second evening of Live Below the Line because we all loved to snack on them in the office. I purchased America’s Choice brand because it was on sale and brought our price down to $0.11/egg. Certainly not organic or cage free, which shed light on the affordability of eating consciously.

Dinner:
22 cents two servings of penne
9 cents half tablespoon melted organic butter
9 cents one serving grated cheese
10 cents tea with one Stevia packet
50 cents total


Day 3: Spent $1.49 for food and drink

Breakfast:
5 cents Stevia packet
5 cents Tetley tea bag
11 cents hardboiled egg
21 cents total

IMG_4955Lunch:
17 cents one serving brown rice
40 cents one serving lentils, potatoes, frozen veggies
57 cents total

 

I used a lot of packets of salt during Live Below the Line and counted them on Day 3 as 10 cents total. I also had one tablespoon of peanut butter as a snack for 11 cents.

Dinner:
22 cents two servings of penne
9 cents half tablespoon melted organic butter
9 cents one serving grated cheese
10 cents tea with one Stevia packet
50 cents total

I found myself making the same dinner over and over again because I came home too tired to make anything different. On Day 3, my boyfriend came over for dinner and ate leftover penne vodka which was rather tempting. It was easier during the challenge to isolate myself socially, so that I wouldn’t be tempted to cheat.


Day 4: Spent $1.50 on food and drink

Without a doubt, Day 4 was the hardest day. I was feeling tired and had no energy to focus on projects at work. Live Below the Line was also the longest I have gone without meat. I realized I was having a tough time without Diet Pepsi too.

Because I was having a difficult time, I had a larger breakfast to experience some different flavors.

IMG_4957Breakfast:
5 cents Stevia packet
5 cents Tetley tea bag
11 cents hardboiled egg
11 cents tablespoon peanut butter
11 cents toasted bread
43 cents total

IMG_4959Lunch:
42 cents two servings spaghetti with olive oil and garlic
20 tomato, beans and kale
62 cents total

 

The smell of ocean when I arrived home in Sea Bright helped me to continue the challenge. I also took a walk on the beach and reminded myself that there was only one day left. I wasn’t too hungry throughout the challenge, just bored with what I was eating. I missed the comfort foods that I am so accustomed to; like taking a break from work and getting a Diet Pepsi in the afternoon or coming home and eating buffalo wings or chicken parm subs. I also found it so strange to be measuring out each serving of each meal during Live Below the Line. That is certainly not something I had paid much attention to before.

Dinner:
22 cents two servings of penne
9 cents half tablespoon melted organic butter
5 cents half serving grated cheese
3 cents half serving garlic powder
8 cents tea with less than one Stevia packet
47 cents total


Day 5: Spent $1.50 on food and drink

On Day 5, I forgot my iPhone at home. Not having as many distractions at work made me more aware of how ready I was to eat what I was accustomed to again.

Breakfast:

5 cents Stevia packet
5 cents Tetley tea bag
11 cents hardboiled egg
11 cents tablespoon peanut butter
11 cents toasted bread
43 cents total

IMG_4970Lunch
17 cents serving of brown rice
39 cents ladle of tomato sauce and veggies
56 cents total

 

Snacks:
7 cents one stick of Orbit gum
11 cents hardboiled egg
11 cents tablespoon of peanut butter
29 cents total

Dinner:
11 cents one serving of penne
5 cents half tablespoon melted organic butter
5 cents half serving grated cheese
22 cents total


As my colleagues and I sat around the pizza we had ordered to celebrate the end of Live Below the Line a week later, I realized what a privilege it is for me to be able to choose between a plain slice of pizza that costs $2.38, a white slice for $2.72 or a vegetable slice for $4.09. I have the privilege of choice every day.

I can choose what I want to eat, how much I spend, and what I want to drink. Clean drinking water comes right out of my faucet. Electricity fuels my stove and oven and allows for me to cook hot meals. I have the ability to spend money to commute to New York City for a good job.

Live Below the Line made me grateful for all that I have, especially the support of my friends and family. Thank you so much to everyone who invested in my Live Below the Line page, sent text messages of encouragement and asked questions about my job and hunger and poverty.

The challenge also made me realize that people living below the poverty line do not need hand outs or donations; they need opportunities to make their own income to take themselves out of poverty. I believe that everyone on the planet has the capability and resourcefulness to live well; they are only missing the opportunity to utilize their talents.

I don’t know how I would be able to live each day if I had to choose between healthcare needs or rent or food. I think that’s what Live Below the Line is all about, realizing all that you have and being grateful, empathizing with those who live in conditions of hunger and poverty, and being motivated to bring about social change so that every person has a chance to experience life above the line.

Visit my Live Below the Line page to make an investment to empower women and men to end their own hunger.

Why an Environmentalist is Living Below the Poverty Line for 5 Days

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Wow! It has been awhile since I have written for my blog. Since my last post in December, I started a new job and have been getting settled into my new digs. Based in Union Square in Manhattan, I now work for a global nonprofit called The Hunger Project. The Hunger Project works to empower women and men to end their own hunger in Africa, South Asia and Latin America. Our mission is to end hunger and poverty by pioneering sustainable, grassroots, women-centered strategies and advocating for their widespread adoption in countries throughout the world.

Since accepting my new position, a lot of folks have asked me why I left my work in environmentalism. I couldn’t disagree more with the premise of this question. I believe that everything is connected and that — in order to most effectively and sustainably save the environment and foster environmental awareness among all people on the planet — we must first ensure that no person on the globe is living in conditions of hunger and poverty. We must work tirelessly to empower women and promote gender equality, and healthy nutrition for children around the world, and hold our governments accountable.

I have recently started reading Howard G. Buffett’s novel called 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World. In his book, Mr. Buffett chronicles his journey through life, where he began as an endangered species and nature photographer and became a farmer and started his career working to improve the lives of farmers around the world.

As I read through the pages of this book, one line has stuck out in my mind: “no one will starve to save a tree.”

Photo Credit: underthetuscangun.com

Photo Credit: underthetuscangun.com

At work, with this thought in mind, I began to think about The Hunger Project’s recent partnership with the Global Poverty Project on a campaign called Live Below the Line. After taking a depth breath and reminding myself of that line in the book, I decided to join the Live Below the Line challenge.

I am standing with thousands of people around the world who are taking the Live Below the Line challenge to raise funds and awareness for the 1.2 billion people in our world who live in extreme poverty.

From April 28-May 2, join me in spending $1.50 a day on food and beverage for 5 days to change the way people think about extreme poverty – all while supporting The Hunger Project’s work in villages worldwide.

I’m looking forward to joining my team at The Hunger Project in experiencing what its like to live below the poverty line and spending only $1.50 a day on food/drink for 5 days. I stand in full partnership with people living in hunger and poverty throughout the world and I hope this campaign sheds light on the conditions they face. I share The Hunger Project’s vision of a world where every woman, man and child leads a healthy, fulfilling life of self-reliance and dignity. – See more at: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/lindsaymcnamara

I want to experience what it is like to live in poverty and the choices (or lack there of) my fellow human beings on the other side of the globe (and right here in New York City) make every day.

I recycle, even separate my bottles and cans from paper and cardboard. I don’t drink bottled water. I take public transportation to work. I bring my canvas bags to the grocery store. I try not to consume too much. These small actions pale in comparison to the reduction my carbon footprint will have as I try to eat and drink on $1.50 a day for 5 days. My fellow environmentalists, I encourage you to Live Below the Line with me and take a hard look at all that you consume in 5 days.

In 40 Chances, Howard G. Buffett explains how all farmers can expect to have about 40 growing seasons, giving them just 40 chances to improve on every harvest. He applies this principle to life in general. If you had the opportunity or the chance to change the world and be a part of the Live Below the Line dialogue, to see yourself as a member of the planet as a whole, would you take it?

I encourage you to take this challenge with me. Live Below the Line for 5 days to learn more about the lives of other human beings on the planet, but also to learn more about yourself and the life you lead.

How can you get involved?
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Why Having Pets Makes Us More Human

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Note the 'Cool Cat' shirt

Note the ‘Cool Cat’ shirt

When I was in grade school, I wanted nothing more than to have a cat.  I begged and begged my parents.  I watched all kinds of cat shows on Animal Planet to learn as much as I could about being a pet owner.  Finally, after my younger sister turned one, my dad took me to get a cat.  I was so happy I wore my ‘Cool Cat’ shirt (with a picture of a cat also on it, to clear up any confusion about my excitement) from Limited Too and gladly hopped in the car as my dad drove us to his friend’s house.

After what seemed like forever, we arrived.  There were several black and white kittens running around this man’s home and I couldn’t believe one of them was going to be mine!  All of the kittens were very playful and friendly, but there was one that stayed with my dad and I even when all of her brothers and sisters went in the other room to play.  That kitten was the one for me.  I loved her immediately and we took her home to meet the rest of my family.

My parents named her ‘Trixy,’ after one of the characters in The Honeymooners.  Over the course of time, she got used to her new home and found lots of ways to make all of us smile.  She sat on the ledge of the bathtub whenever my sister took a bath and drank water from a yellow smiley face bucket.  My sister got into a lot of sticky situations when she was a toddler and Trixy was her partner in crime.

Trixy loved Christmas time and enjoyed sleeping underneath the tree and playing with ornaments until they fell down.  She would always come down to the kitchen when my mom was making turkey or roasted chicken…or when we shook the bag of her treats and asked if she wanted a ‘yummy.’

After a new arrival to our family, Luke the dog, moved in, Trixy was not too thrilled, but she still cuddled with us every night and purred when you rubbed her whiskers or pet under her chin.  She was a happy cat who enjoyed making all of our nice furniture furry.

Trixy in Sea Bright

Trixy in Sea Bright

When I moved out on my own to my apartment in Sea Bright, I was a little lonely at first.  My parents suggested Trixy move in with me.  Trixy became a beach kitty almost a year ago, in late December of 2012, at the age of 14.

Over the course of the last several months, Trixy and I became closer than we had ever been.  We grew up together.  She was one of my first hellos when I came home from college.  I judged all of my boyfriends based on whether she liked them or not.  That’s what happens when you have a pet since you were eight years old.  I can’t imagine how different my life would’ve been growing up without her.

A lot of folks have strong opinions about cats, like them or dislike them, but I will always think of Trixy as one of my best friends.  She was there for me when I was upset and would put her paw on my hand to show me that she knew I was sad.  She would greet me at the door when I would come home from work.  Trixy loved to cuddle and would often bite my laptop if it was on my lap instead of her.  She begged for food like a dog and was particularly fond of my Sunday morning omelets.  She was a constant source of support, always listening and never judging.  She was someone to come home to and someone to take care of, which is important for a single girl living alone, especially when she helped me try to kill bugs.

I grew accustomed to having her around.  I didn’t shut my bathroom door all the way at night so she could use her litter box if she needed, and I pulled my bed sheets down in the morning before work so she couldn’t sleep under them and get everything (even more) furry.

My friend passed away on Thursday at the age of 15.  I have thought a lot about our friendship since then, and through all of the tears and the heartbreak, I have found that having a pet makes us more human.

Trixy coexisting with my goldfish, Rajah.

Trixy coexisting with my goldfish, Rajah

They challenge us to be as selfless and loyal as they are.  They teach us responsibility when we are younger and the importance of trust.  Our animals rely on us to feed them and take care of them and in return, they ask for a simple belly rub or to cuddle up on the couch.  I think our connection to animals is strengthened by the fact that we don’t speak the same language.  It makes us get to know one another on a deeper level and really understand their feelings.  They do become part of your family, but in most cases, they are better than family because they tend to be more likeable.  Our animals are a constant source of love and joy and make us laugh at any chance they get.  I think if everyone acted a little bit more like their pets; the world would be a better place.

At night, I still don’t close my bathroom door all the way and I still pull my bed sheets down before work in the morning.  I don’t think I will ever stop.  It reminds me that although Trixy is not here, she will always be with me and she will always be a part of my life.  I will always think of her as I strive to be a good person and to make a positive impact on the world.  I hope anyone who has lost an animal – a cat, dog, horse, hamster, rabbit, fish or lizard – cherishes the time that was spent in their presence and tries to be a little more human every day.

When Trixy passed away, I donated some of her items to the Monmouth County SPCA’s Pet Pantry.  Created to meet the needs of pet owners displaced by Superstorm Sandy, the Pet Pantry now feeds more than 350 pets monthly.  Plans are developing to build a permanent Pet Pantry on Monmouth County SPCA property.  Please consider MCSPCA when making your year-end gifts this holiday season.

Filling an Empty Page

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“A writer is a person with the courage to fill an empty page,” Chris Satullo told a group of concerned citizens, including myself, in one of the conference rooms at Ocean County College a few Saturdays ago.  I had found myself in a breakout session at the first of three events in a series organized by The Citizens Campaign called Citizen Journalism: How the Internet Will Cover the Next Superstorm.  Mr. Satullo, vice president for news at WHYY/NewsWorks had me hanging on his every word.

The first event in the series entitled Information Matters: Getting the Real Story took place a few Saturdays ago and featured expert presenters leading sessions on Newswriting 101, Factfinding and Reporting, Photojournalism and Engaging the Community.

Photo Credit: The Citizens Campaign

Photo Credit: The Citizens Campaign

One of my favorite sessions was Newswriting 101 with Chris Satullo.  He encouraged us to not only fill an empty page but to fill it with well-written language that will command attention.  He explained that in his field—radio—he is constantly looking for ‘the driveway moment.’ The driveway moment is when a listener has pulled into their driveway, but is in park with the radio on because the content is too compelling to be turned off.

He taught us to paint a vivid mental picture with our writing and told us to “make him feel how the weather was.”  As a blogger, I found this session extremely helpful and have tried to incorporate Satullo’s “Seven Tips on Writing Well” into my work.

Here are his tips:

  1. Writing is scary; never forget that, but never let that scare you.
  2. Don’t let anybody else see it until you’ve read it aloud to yourself.
  3. Show, don’t tell.
  4. Use simple, powerful words, and respect their power.
  5. Kill the little darlings.
  6. Don’t be “passive” – get active.
  7. To write well, read, read, read people who write well.

Mr. Satullo said that sometimes the best question to ask as a citizen journalist in an interview is simply “tell me what happened.”  In another session, I was privileged to meet someone who has done just that, over and over again, until he cultivated his own audience of over 200,000 readers.

Photo Credit: Lindsay McNamara

Photo Credit: Lindsay McNamara

Justin Auciello, editor and founder of Jersey Shore Hurricane News, a bottom-up, two-way news outlet, led a session on Factfinding and Reporting, where he spoke specifically about covering the recent Seaside boardwalk fire.  A lifelong resident of South Seaside Park, Mr. Auciello tried to explain how it felt watching his “childhood literally go up in flames” while he was reporting.  He said that despite all of his feelings, he had to remind himself of his responsibility as a citizen journalist and an objective observer.  Even when he could see with his own eyes that the fire appeared to be spreading, he waited until he received confirmation from local officials to post an update.  Mr. Auciello spoke about his passion for reporting the facts and his desire to not create added fear or panic among the people.

Despite not having a formal background in journalism, he told all of us who attended the session about how is passion for reporting started at a young age.  He used to jump on his bike whenever he heard the sirens as a child to go see what was happening.   Mr. Auciello spoke with humility about the 200,000+ followers of Jersey Shore Hurricane News and said that “all of the sudden everyone is listening to me.”  He was funny, relatable and knew his stuff, and showed us the tools he used to successfully report on breaking news, traffic and weather at the Jersey Shore.

One of the handouts from Information Matters: Getting the Real Story had a quote about citizen journalism that stuck with me.  Jay Rosen said, “When the people, formerly known as the audience, employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another,” that’s citizen journalism.

All of us are an expert of something!  Pick your topic and start writing!

The goal of the series Citizen Journalism: How the Internet Will Cover the Next Superstorm is to prepare people to become community reporters.

To learn more about Citizen Journalism, attend the next event Its Takes a Village: Working Together Online on Saturday, November 2nd from 8:30 am – 1:00 pm at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ.  For more information and to RSVP, click here.

If you choose to attend, you will be given more information and resources for:

  • Where can to post your news and pictures
  • Key questions to ask local officials, nonprofit groups and citizens
  • Tips for better visuals
  • How to cover a breaking news event as a citizen journalist
  • Basic tools for real-time reporting

The final event in the series Eyewitness Reports: Are We Ready or Not? will be held on Saturday, November 16th from 8:30 am – 1:00 pm at Middlesex County College in Edison, NJ.  For more information and to RSVP, click here.

Photo Credit: The Citizens Campaign

Photo Credit: The Citizens Campaign