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Media Smart Citizens: Crafting Your Story

Crafting Your Story

You have found the power in your voice and now it is time to tell your story. Your experiences and ideas are unique; it is essential for your craft to be as well. As you engage with diverse mediums to determine the purpose of your message and discover your audience, remember that being a responsible storyteller protects you, your voice, and the story you have chosen to tell. Understanding copyright laws and learning to distinguish facts from fiction can preserve the longevity of your story’s community impact as you prepare for its production and publication. 

Your story deserves to be told. The New York Public Library's collection of books, databases, and credible online resources on citizen journalism, evaluating information, and legal issues can help you craft it.

"Crafting Your Story" is episode three of “Express Your Power”, a four-part, nationally-recognized media and information literacy learning video series produced by Media Smart Citizens in partnership with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL) of The New York Public Library.


Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism

The Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism was established in 1987 through a gift from Joseph Frank Bernstein, in honor of journalist Helen Bernstein Fealy. Each year, finalists for the Bernstein Award are selected by a Library Review Committee comprised of New York Public Library staff. Winners are then chosen by a separate Bernstein Selection Committee.

Winning a journalism prize from The New York Public Library evokes something extra because libraries enable people to discern fact from fiction, says Dan Fagin, a past winner of the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Video premiered May 22, 2017.

LinkedIn Learning

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LinkedIn Learning is an online educational site that features thousands of courses and video tutorials where you can discover, complete, and track courses related to your field and interests. It is free to access from anywhere using your NYPL library card. Here are some of the online classes offered:

Telling a Story to Build a Community
Do you need to build a following or grow your community? No matter how many facts you rally in support of a cause, they will never hold the same weight as a well-told story. In this course, Michael Kass, founder of StoryImpact, explains how to identify and craft your story in order to create change in the world. Learn about the different types of stories that can be told and the key ingredients of a successful story. Discover how to structure your elements into a story that engages your audiences and rallies them around your call to action, whether that’s to donate, volunteer, or simply spread the word. Finally, discover different ways to deploy your story, both online and in person.

Information Literacy
Information literacy is the ability to discover and use various types of information. It's an essential skill for navigating the information age. Watch this course to learn about strategies for finding information—from a library, archive, database, or the Internet—and the ethics of using it. Librarian Elsa Loftis discusses different types of resources and explains how to evaluate their usefulness and trustworthiness. She also shows how to avoid plagiarism and copyright infringement, and accurately cite sources.

Understanding Copyright: A Deeper Dive
You may have reviewed the basics of intellectual property. Now it's time for a deeper dive into copyright—your mechanism for protecting intellectual property that resides in a tangible form: books, songs, software, product designs, etc. Attorney Dana Robinson explains what constitutes copyright infringement, and how to respond when someone has infringed upon your copyright or if you receive a demand letter or cease and desist from a third party. He also explains licensing, public domain, and fair use, and reviews the process for searching for and filing copyrights. The course closes with a set of valuable copyright FAQs that address many of the most common questions about copyrighting intellectual property.

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