Last night I attended an interesting journalism workshop at the Cleveland Park Library here in Washington, DC (hat tip: FishbowlDC).  Nationally known writer and photographer Bill Adler and former MSNBC chief Washington correspondent turned freelance multimedia journalist Brock Meeks pitched the citizen driven hyper local news site NowPublic to attendees. 

Approximately 35 people attended.  Some were older while others — like me — were younger.  Mothers brought their kids who had iPod ear buds in their ears.  Black, white, etc.

Adler and Meeks were just two normal blokes.  They weren't trying to appear "civilian," but they simply were themselves sans the scripted made for a TV newscast spiel dolled up by foundation powder from a compact.  This tact helped them assert that journalism is not just for the professionals.

Adler who moderates the Cleveland Park listserv with its 5,254 members wants to transfer the reporting about the neighborhood from that forum to a Cleveland Park NowPublic portal since the site enables anyone with access to the site to view the news.  In fact, the Associate Press is now buying NowPublic content — text, pictures, video, and audio — for use on its wire services.  It will pay content producers a fee for the right to use their media; the AP won't buy exclusive rights so that NowPublic contributors can use or pedal their work elsewhere.

Adler and Meeks also provided handouts about how to use NowPublic, how to write a story, where to get information for news stories, some journalism basics, and other anecdotes like, as Meeks says, "Short is sacred" and "No story is insignificant."

With the AP partnered with NowPublic, it is not that unlikely that your work could appear in a major paper or broadcast.  However, NowPublic also makes it available to your most important audience — your neighbors.

UPDATE: Meeks has an audiovisual slide show of the event on his site.