Citizen Journalism scheme

Six-month Citizen Journalism scheme

Learn the basics of online journalism on our Citizen Journalism scheme and have your content published in one of our community publications: Roman Road LDN, Whitechapel LDN, Bethnal Green LDN or Poplar LDN.

 

Start dates: Rolling, and we can accept up to four writers at any one time. If there is a waiting list, we can inform you when a slot becomes available.
Positions: We can accommodate four writers at any one time
Apply to: Email tabitha@socialstreets.co

 

 

Develop basic journalism skills in researching, interviewing and writing.

Gain knowledge and build a network of contacts in a topic you love in the area you live.

Benefit from the leads, contacts and opportunities we can offer as the leading local publisher.

About the Citizen Journalism scheme

The scheme is a six-month placement for local residents who wish to share news about their local area in Tower Hamlets and benefit from basic journalism training.

  • Join as one of our agreed Citizen Correspondent roles
  • Receive a one-hour induction session about our tone-of-voice and editorial value.
  • Receive feedback about online writing.

In return, Citizen Correspondents are required to submit one short-form news story or review per month. These must not exceed 400 words.

Please note: we are not obliged to publish work that does meet our quality standards.

Duration: 6 months

Pay: No cost and no pay – we offer free training to our writers in exchange for their assignments.

Commitment: Submit a monthly news or review article.

Location: Any meetings are held in our office in Bow or can be attended virtually.

To apply: Please email tabitha@socialstreets.co

Citizen Correspondent Roles

Arts & Culture Correspondent

Tower Hamlets has a wealth of independent film and theatre venues and galleries, which often play host to national festivals and events. If you want to try your hand at reporting on this exciting scene, whether that be reviewing the latest exhibition, film, production or gig. See some examples of our articles in arts and entertainment here.

Environmental Correspondent 

Community-grown gardens, perfect pocket parks, climate change protests… environmental reporting covers a whole range of green news. If you have a passion for environmental issues and want to further your experience of reporting on this, then please get in touch. An example of an article about the local environment is here

Food & Drink Corresondent

Do you like to indulge in various cuisines, and are happy to try tempura tofu one day, to meat mezze the next? We are looking for someone with a love for all types of food and drink and who is as happy to report on the opening of a new restaurant as they are to interview the owner of a decades-old pie and mash shop. See examples of our food and drink features and reviews here.

Health & Wellbeing Correspondent

Health has been THE topic of the last two years, and not just our physical health (thanks Covid), but our mental health too (again, thanks Covid!). We’d love to hear from someone who is as comfortable speaking to councillors about how the borough will emerge from the pandemic as they are talking to a young person who is struggling with poor mental health. If you think this is you, then get in touch. Here is an example of an article on health reporting.

LGBTQ+ Correspondent

Tower Hamlets has long been a place where the LGBTQ+ community has lived, partied, and worked. We want someone who can report with sensitivity and care on events, campaigns and initiatives in the queer space. Read about our interview with Richard Smith on being HIV positive.

Sports Correspondent 

There is often talk of the East End’s fighting spirit – and nowhere is that more true than in the boxing ring. And while boxing is still a key part of the borough’s strong sporting tradition, with Victoria Park’s various sports meet-ups, and the world-class Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on our doorstep, there is plenty of sports news and features to report on. Read our piece about tackling racism in football here.

Political Correspondent

The recent local elections saw Labour ousted as the leading party in Tower Hamlets. See some examples of our reporting on local politics here.

 

 

FAQs

Do I have to be trained in journalism?

No, you don’t have to have formal training in journalism but you will need to have had some experience in writing whether that is from essay writing, blogging, creative writing or copywriting. We welcome trained journalists too.

We will require to see examples of previously written work and we will ask you to produce a feature as a test piece as part of the application process.

What other qualities do you require?

Anyone collaborating with Social Streets must be socially minded with an interest in community and culture.

How much time does this take?

It is a six-month commitment with an agreement to produce regular work on a monthly basis in return for training, mentoring and opportunities. Each month you should have time to undertake the following tasks which we estimate to be 4-6 hours:

  • Conduct the research, interview or reviews necessary to complete the work
  • Write and make recommended edits

Do I have to live in Tower Hamlets?

Yes, this is a scheme for local people wanting to write about their local area. If you live slightly outside of Tower Hamlets but still have strong links to the area, we will consider you.

Testimonials

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Gem Stokes Citizen Journalist 2020: Food & Drink Correspondent

Gem Stokes is an English literature student at QMUL and lives off Roman Road. An emerging journalist, Gem edits the music column for the university’s CUB magazine. She loves vegan food and is passionate about supporting the local community.  “Supporting local, independent businesses is essential to the growth of the local economy, and I saw no better way to do that than to utilise my voice as a writer to encourage others to shop and eat locally, too. I love that the magazine shares my ethos and I feel at home as a citizen journalist at Roman Road LDN.” Gem is using this opportunity to expand her craft in writing. “Writing for Roman Road LDN has proved to be a profound experience. I have developed my writing skills, improved my confidence in interviews, and widened my vocabulary for talking about good food. I really enjoy the collaborative style of editing, feeling like I’m working alongside my editor, rather than under them. I’ve discovered some really great restaurants and met some really great people, and I can’t wait to discover more.” See all of Gem Stokes work here.

Siri Christiansen Citizen Journalist 2020: History & Heritage Correspondent

Writing for Roman Road LDN gave me the confidence to pursue journalism and helped me create a portfolio at a credible magazine, to showcase my skills. It helped me get into my master’s programme and get a position as an editor. It was a thorough introduction into the full working process of professional journalism; from independently researching and pitching stories to interviewing, transcribing and writing articles. The feedback I was given after each story helped me understand how to write in an engaging, accessible way, and helped me shed my dry academic style of writing. The thing I enjoyed the most was the creative independence and responsibility I was given despite my lack of experience; instead of being handed mundane tasks, I was given creative liberties which are rarely rewarded to beginners in journalism.

Stefani di Cio Citizen Journalist 2021: Environment Correspondent

I was encouraged to pitch my own stories and develop independence. Coming from a scientific academic background, it helped to add colour to my writing and make it more engaging for the wider public. For each submitted piece, there was constructive feedback and a dialogue on how to strengthen the story. I had the chance to write for different sections of the magazine, venturing in topics and styles that I was less familiar with and therefore expanding my skills. I was invited to editorial meetings, providing the opportunity to see first-hand how ideas are discussed and developed within the magazine. I was able to use some of the pieces to complete my portfolio for the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism. Having done the diploma as a distance learner, this experience gave me the opportunity to apply the theory learnt during my course and gave me solid basis to confidently move to the next position in the industry.