If you live in the northern part of Northridge, the borders of Northridge technically define your community. Granada Hills South is a separate community which exists just north of Northridge. Both communities have news and their community journalism would focus only on news that took place within each respective city. So what of the residents that live on the border of the two? Do they only belong to one community? Do readers care more about news that happens across the city or across the street, even if it's technically in a different city? The end of one's personal community is not based on gerrymandered lines.

The app I am proposing would aggrogate (collect) content from news sources. Each piece would be geotagged, or marked with a code that corresponds with a point on an interactive Google map. Then, to see news, users would view the map closest to wherever they are (or would like to view news) and click on the markers showing where news has taken place.

Online community journalism has succeeded in large part by embracing the internet and social media. Most news outlets (as well as many other companies) have Facebook and Twitter accounts, which they use for updates, promotion, interaction with readers and crowd-sourcing. However, news outlets have failed to use a potentially game-changing technology called geotagging.

Geotagging adds geographical identification data to content such as photos and tweets. It uses the GPS in your mobile phone or laptop to automatically code content with the location.

Imagine if this map (left) was your newsfeed. You click on each of the red markers to see what news comes from there. We have the tecnhology for this. This is actually a feature on my iPhone 4 where each picture you take is logged and placed on a map, as long as location services are turned on. Each photo has metadata, which the device recognizes and uses to place it on a Google Map. When clicking on a pin you can see how many photos were taken at that location, and by zooming in you can see more specific details about exactly where it was taken, within a few feet.

I see the future of both professional and citizen journalism using geotagging. I also see readers using a phone app to view news around where they are located, whether at home, work or traveling. This will not only affect the efficiency of community journalism, but readers will have faster, more open access to what is going on near them, propelling community journalism a format that is as quick and dynamic as the large online media outlets are today. 

This scholarship is sponsored by ATTSavings.com
California student leaders gathered last weekend to discuss sustainability at an annual convergence held at the University of California, San Diego.

A group called the California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) hosts both a spring and fall convergence each year at different California university campuses. Student leaders from across California interested in sustainability on campus and in their communities attended these convergences to learn the latest in environmental science and opinions, to share resources, and to socialize with other environmentalists. 

“It’s so great to come together with like-minded people and know you’re not in this struggle alone,” said Orange Coast College student Brianna Flores, who had come to the convergence after being alerted via the CSSC e-mail list. “Sometimes you feel like you’re taking on all these things, and just to come together with all these students who have done so much for their campuses, created such change…it’s really inspiring.”

The mission of the CSSC, according to their website, is “…to unite and empower California’s community of higher education to collaboratively and nonviolently transform our selves and our institutions based on our inherent social, economic, and ecological responsibilities.


The students were told to arrive Friday night, where they socialized to get to know each other until that night, when many of them sprawled their sleeping bags across the floors of the dorms to sleep. On Saturday, the attendees went to three workshops of their choosing. Workshops, hosted by students, staff, and volunteer speakers, covered a broad range of topics, including traditional foods, how to advertise for a nonprofit organization using the Internet, the effects of meat on the environment, and home composting. 

This semester, UC San Diego’s Student Sustainability Collective hosted the convergence, with convergence coordinator Jared Muscat, an involved member of the student sustainability community.

“It’s kind of our Mecca, you know?” said Muscat. “Every fall and every spring, it’s the one thing we come back to, we see each other if we haven’t seen each other for a while…we get super, super excited, and we just dive right in into all this stuff.”

The convergence provided free vegetarian, organic, local food for all the meals at the convergence, which had been donated by businesses around the campus as well as the campus farming co-op.

Later on Saturday night, there was a concert put on by a local band called The Skavolutionary Orchestra, to which the attendees enthusiastically danced.

Sunday morning, the attendees ate breakfast and attended one more workshop. The last event of the convergence was a spiral hug, in which the attendees all took each others’ hands and spun in a line to create a human spiral, which tightened into a massive group-hug.