The UMaine New Media Department is also a project partner, and UMaine Senior Lecturer in New Media Bill Kuykendall is the program’s lead faculty member.
Now 14 members strong, the Boomer Reporting Corps members have participated in a series of six five-hour educational workshops and prepared multimedia projects ranging from a feature on a Tai Chi instructor with a rough past to histories of their hometowns.
With funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Maine Community Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies, the workshop series was established, culminating with the ENCorps summit in June where participants presented their work.
The workshops in Augusta, Orono and Belfast focused on reporting and storytelling, technology, photography and social media. Kuykendall led the workshops, while several community members volunteered as guest lecturers.
“Our goal was not to create a cohort of citizen journalists who would be working in opposition to the local media, but rather a cohort that could work with the local media,” Kuykendall said. “It would give boomer reporters an outlet for their work and would give the local media more high-quality content.”
Kuykendall says another aim of the program is to preserve the health of traditional news reporting.
“It’s getting harder and harder to cover the news. There aren’t as many reporters at newspapers. The younger reporters who are there may not have the experience to cover a complex issue,” Kuykendall said.