Akron Digital Media Center to expand citizen journalism training program in Akron with $125,000 from Knight Foundation


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AKRON, OHIO – March 7, 2014 –The Akron Digital Media Center/Akronist.com will teach more citizens to contribute to local news by expanding its digital media training classes to several neighborhood sites with $125,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

With the funding, Akron Digital Media Center will establish classes at community locations such as branch libraries and community learning centers. Classes will focus on training in digital storytelling, blogging, social media promotion and working with photos and videos using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. By making the program more accessible, neighborhood residents can share community news using the most current, widely accessible tools.

Along with live webcasting of training sessions, the new program will feature local leaders as speakers, supporting the creation of libraries and community centers as information hubs. Citizen participants will be able to interview these leaders and upload content on the spot.

“In the digital age, anyone can perform an act of journalism,” said Eric Newton, senior adviser to the president at Knight Foundation. “The Akron Digital Media Center is training people to tell stories in contemporary ways and that will, we hope, lead to a more informed and engaged community.”

“The growth of social media sites and the way people interact on them has shown us that quality, current and local content is important to audiences,” said Chris Miller, Akron Digital Media Center director. “This program gives residents the training they need and removes technological barriers associated with quality storytelling to form a truly grassroots, hyperlocal news and information network.”

At present, the Akron Digital Media Center offers free training at its office location at Akron-Summit County Public Library’s Main Library in downtown Akron. Sessions range from how to shoot and edit a video on a mobile device to lighting for video and photography; current courses also cover blogging and social media.

The Akron Digital Media Center has trained more than 1,000 residents since its founding in 2010. Through public submissions and in-house productions, it has featured thousands of articles and videos, including nonprofit and community news, public service announcements, documentary films and in-depth stories about social issues. Much of the content can be found at the center’s online news outlet, Akronist.com. The center also offers a multimedia equipment lending library and a fully staffed computer lab for its students at the Main Library, the media project’s primary partner.

The Akron Digital Media Center and Akronist.com received initial support through funding from Akron Community Foundation and Knight Foundation’s Community Information Challenge. The center accepts gifts from community members and local funders to its designated fund at the community foundation. To give, visit www.akroncf.org/give/ADMC. For information about corporate partnerships, sponsorships, production services or training opportunities, contact Chris Miller, director of the Akron Digital Media Center, at [email protected] or 330-436-5627.

About the Akron Digital Media Center

The Akron Digital Media Center (ADMC) is a community resource that encourages citizen journalism in greater Akron. Its primary goal is to provide the training and tools local residents and organizations need to create news, information and entertainment that challenge and engage our community. Through a series of free citizen journalism workshops, the ADMC uses classroom and hands-on techniques to train community members to create high-quality, neighborhood stories using digital video, photography, audio and new-media tools. Visit www.akrondmc.com or www.akronist.com for more information.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.


Anusha Alikhan, director of communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, [email protected]

Chris Miller, director, Akron Digital Media Center, 330-436-5627, [email protected]