We created this zine in order to celebrate the work of citizen journalists, recognize the continuing need for citizen journalism, and engage with the Los Angeles community in a new way. We invited residents from across LA County from various backgrounds to participate by serving as citizen journalists for their communities and asked them to share their challenges, successes, issues, and stories with us.
We created the Citizen Journalism Project zine as an educational component for the Autry Museum's exhibition, LA RAZA, which celebrates the photography that documented the Chicano Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and 1970s. We wanted to show the relevancy and importance of citizen journalism today, and we also wanted to highlight that fact that we are still fighting for the issues fought for during the Chicano Rights Movement.
Because we did most of our participant recruitment in classrooms, we spent a lot of time with students - both middle and high school - discussing the history of citizen journalism and how students can be empowered today to speak truth to power. Hearing young people discuss their challenges and celebrations has been incredibly affirming and positive.
Zines--along with blogs, videos, and social media--are an incredibly important tool for independent media and publishing. They are part of a genealogy of citizen journalism that stretches back to Thomas Paine in the United States and includes Frederick Douglass, the Suffragette movement, Jacob Riis, Abraham Zapruder, LA RAZA, the Black Panther Newspaper, John Filo, the Arab Spring Uprising, and Black Lives Matter.