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Noah Erenberg



by Rhonda J. Prepes, P. Eng. September 23, 2012

Noah Erenberg is a veteran network television documentary writer, director and producer, media studies instructor, trainer and consultant. He is also the convener for an exciting, new online media hub (, the Community News Commons (CNC). All content on this dynamic, interactive website is created by citizen journalists. The aim is to train and engage citizen journalists to share local news and information and to tell inspiring stories about the people, places and events that make up their community. It provides the opportunity for anyone in Winnipeg, or elsewhere in Manitoba, to create and disseminate media encompassing a wide range of subjects and ideas; it’s hyper-local, inclusive and interactive.

The opportunity to be a citizen journalist allows participants to improve their digital media skills while gaining valuable experience in the field of communications. Anyone can get involved by contributing content through print, video, audio, photography or simply by consuming the information on the site. It’s really for anyone who is interested in making Winnipeg and Manitoba a better place, where more local information and neighbourhood stories are shared, debated and celebrated.

CNC citizen journalist Denise Campbell submitted a story on September 18, 2012 that quickly went viral. You may have read it, along with the rest of Winnipeg.

In case you missed it, Denise was riding a transit bus when the driver quickly and unexpectedly pulled the bus over on Portage Avenue. The driver noticed what appeared to be a homeless man standing on the sidewalk not wearing any shoes. The driver got off the bus, took off his own shoes and gave them to the man. The driver’s explanation was that he figured the shoeless fellow needed the footwear more than he did. The driver also said that he couldn’t bear the thought of a man going without shoes, especially with the weather turning cold.

Within minutes of the article being posted on CNC, the item was re-tweeted countless times. Within an hour, the likes on Facebook were climbing fast. Then, Denise was inundated with requests for interviews from local media; TV, radio and print, wanting her to retell the story.

Erenberg comments, “It seems many of us crave this kind of inspiring story of kindness and generosity; one that acknowledges the human tendency to give love and to be compassionate, reminding us of the importance of paying attention to the world around us and to our fellow human beings.”

Citizen reporter Denise Campbell points out how this is the kind of excitement and interest that citizen journalism can generate.

“This is exactly what Community News Commons is supposed to do,” she said. “Citizens share everyday stories that are meaningful. It really has the capacity to generate a lot of interest and create positive change in our city.”

Duncan McMonagle, Red River College Creative Communications instructor sees CNC as “the way ahead for journalism.”

In an article he wrote in response to Denise Campbell’s article, he praised CNC by stating, “A modest citizen-journalism site broke a story that resonated widely, using simple media tools.”

CNC is different from other media because it is a co-operative, meant to partner with media outlets, writers, bloggers, photographers, videographers, storytellers, students, seniors, community members, etc., in co-operative, reciprocal ways, by sharing content, and by linking back to websites of the organizations and communities from where citizen journalists are telling their stories.

This unique site reflects the growing advent of people’s journalism and provides an opportunity to develop a robust public media in Winnipeg. The response to CNC has been overwhelmingly positive. CNC is an engaging and unique opportunity for everyone to not only be media consumers, but to also be content providers as part of a vibrant team of public journalists.

CNC is made possible by matching grants from The Winnipeg Foundation and Knight Foundation. The US-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation support quality journalism, media innovation and the arts through several different granting programs.

The Winnipeg Jewish Review wishes to congratulate Erenberg on his latest endeavour and hopes to have the opportunity to partner with CNC in the future.


Editor’s note: Rhonda Prepes also wrote an article as a community journalist on CNC in response to Denise Campbell’s article. Read “Now it’s your turn Winnipeg…We can all help” at:

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Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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