Mid-MI grassroots journalists discuss their roles, impact

Aug 25, 2016

'Citizen journalists' like Steve Harry and Alice Dreger are trying to fill in the news coverage gaps regarding city government in East Lansing and mid-Michigan.
Credit WKAR File Photo

The internet has triggered profound changes in print journalism. Sometimes, local grassroots journalists step in to help communities stay informed. We talk to two “citizen journalists” from the Lansing area about why they do what they do and the influence they think they have.

Last week on his HBO show, John Oliver of "Last Week Tonight" made a point about the broadcast media’s reliance on print journalism. It was a mash-up of references to newspaper stories by TV news hosts. Oliver also revisited many profound changes that have transformed  journalism, many would say for the worse.

But perhaps the biggest of those changes, the internet, has also played a role in energizing another kind of reporting: citizen journalism. The internet has meant that ordinary citizens can play a greater role in reporting news.

Current State talks with two Lansing area citizen journalists. Alice Dreger is the founder, board president and journalist at eastlansinginfo.org, a free East Lansing news website. Steve Harry is  the researcher, reporter, fact checker and editor at steveharrypublicpolicy.com.