It’s common to see many important issues and events go underreported in remote and rural areas. It sometimes takes only a few trending blog posts or erupting hashtags to grab national attention on a local topic, or become the exclusive eyes on the ground for breaking news.

Here at WVU Streamlab, we are consciously encouraging citizen journalism to guard local waterways using DIY sensors to measure water conductivity levels in an attempt to preserve and protect safe drinking water.

WVU student deploying a DIY water sensor
WVU student deploying a DIY water sensor

However, unlike trained journalists, local citizenry may, at times, lack the understanding or the importance of certain ethical rules, fact-checking, thorough research and the craft of asking the right questions to the right people before disseminating the news on the internet via blogs or social media.

To avoid misinformation, locals interested in reporting on water quality issues across the state can now take some free courses available online to hone your journalistic skills:

Cover Water Quality: What You Need to Know’ is a free course available on Poynter’s News University and requires a free account for participation.

Become a Citizen Journalist’ is another free source by Apple available on ITunes built to teach storytelling using portable electronics.