The ice cream debate. What a name for a blog 🙂 A blog that should discuss topics on citizen journalism. And that wants to inform you about my project HasseltLokaal.  As the project manager, I want to tell you about the opportunities and challenges of this citizen journalism project. And about who and what I see happening around me.

But ok, what about the ice cream debate then? Believe it or not, but this blogname stands for everything I want a citizen journalism project to stand for.

On the 24th of June, one of the citizen reporters of my project (which is in the Belgian city of Hasselt) heard the loud and friendly tunes of an ice cream car. Nothing special, except that this ice cream seller was driving around at 8 o’clock on a sunday morning and thus awakening the entire neighbourhood. Reporter Johan immediately got out of bed and asked the man what that noise was all about. The man explained that he was angry, because somebody in the neighbourhood had called the police the other evening. In Dutch: the entire ice cream story.

A story that would never make it to the newspaper, but is nevertheless very interesting for the citizens of Hasselt. And from the next day, everybody started discussing the topic on our platform in a very constructive and friendly way. A girl replied and told people why her mother had called the police: she had exams and couldn’t concentrate because of the noise. Elderly people explained that sometimes they have to put up with noise as well. Noise of younger people, when they don’t have to study anymore but celebrate the end of their exams. And like that, the debate went on and on.

As a matter of fact, the ice cream debate became the talk of town. And I loved it. Because for me, people informing each other, debating, discussing and exchanging information, that’s what a citizen journalism project is all about.

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