The Indiana Coalition for Open Government’s Citizen Journalism Boot Camp on March 20 on the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis is fast-approaching. You can register through PayPal or by mail-in check. Read on for the full schedule, or just click here to register.

If you are a neighborhood leader, citizen activist, blogger or would-be blogger, ICOG’s Citizen Journalism Boot Camp can help you become a stronger citizen journalist or learn the essentials on how to become one.


The event, which highlights ICOG’s participation in national Sunshine Week, will feature workshops on how to gain access to public information and gather other information as a reporter, understanding the technology you will need to use, and how to set up a blog and keep your readers informed effectively. Session leaders will include veteran bloggers, attorneys and journalists who will walk you through the nuts and bolts of setting yourself up to become your own community watchdog.


Registration fee is $35 for the general public and $20 for students and ICOG members. The fee includes morning coffee, lunch and a complimentary one-year membership to ICOG, a $25 value itself.


Keynote speaker during the lunch will be Jan Schaffer, executive director of J Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, one of the nation’s leading thinkers in the journalism reform movement. J-Lab administers the Knight Citizen News Network ( and other initiatives.


Speakers will include members of The Indianapolis Star’s Starwatch investigative team, who will demonstrate how to generate story ideas, develop sources and collect documents and data that reporters can use to quickly produce news relevant to their communities.


Brant Houston will lead discussion on basic research and backgrounding, giving special attention to using online sources for information. Houston is the former executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors. He now holds the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting and teaches investigative and advanced reporting in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois College of Media.


John Strauss, a former Indianapolis Star reporter and columnist who is now on the journalism faculty at Ball State University, will demonstrate easy-to-use multimedia tools that can turn anyone into a backpack journalist.


Local blogging expert Erik Deckers will show you how to start a blog in just minutes using readily available online tools. He will be joined by two bloggers who will offer advice on how to get material for your blog and keep the information flowing.


Also, a panel of lawyers will talk about challenges and pitfalls of blogging, strategies for staying on the right side of the law, and the current state of affairs regarding access issues.


You can see the full schedule by clicking here. To register online, or to download a printable registration form that you can mail in, click here.