Citizen Journalism: A Blessing

The arrival of the internet has led to a decentralized flow of information. There is greater participation by the public in the flow of information. Citizen journalism is a product of the new internet environment. Axel Bruns (2009, p. 13) describes citizen journalism as “a continuing and necessarily unfinished coverage of topics and events inviting user participation.”

The arrival of citizen journalism is a very important addition to the media industry. It acts as a different outlet in news reporting. The current media environment is dominated and controlled by large multi-national news corporations; corporations such as Viacom and News Corporation, the latter being very dominant in the Australian media industry reported as having control of more than a half of the newspapers in Australia. With large news corporations holding such a significant portion of the traditional press, it is important that citizen journalism takes a larger role in the current media environment to ensure the accuracy and reliability of news reporting. If all news that we consume are from traditional news outlets then we run the risk of being told possibly inaccurate reports.

We also need to understand that there are different types of citizen journalism. There is what is called gatewatching which focuses less on the first hand reporting of news events, but is focused more on the aggregation existing reports to provide a wider picture of the situation (Bruns, A 2009, p. 5). The other type of citizen journalism is first hand reporting of events. I am sure that many of us are currently active participants of this form of citizen journalism. Twitter is a great example of a platform used to support this form of citizen journalism. People are able to instantaneously report news events which are broadcast real time to anyone around the world. The circulation of news through this medium will be far greater than what traditional printed newspapers will be able to achieve. Even though tweets are only limited to 140 characters per character, the aggregation of all the information can lead to a more extensive and detailed report of the events occurring. The ongoing Syrian Civil War and the 2010 Thailand political riots are just a couple of the examples of detailed and informative citizen journalism. Citizen journalists will no doubt continue to proliferate as citizen journalism takes a greater portion of the public’s news consumption. It is important that consume our news from a range of outlets to ensure that we are informed of the whole situation so that we can make our own informed decisions.

Bruns, A 2009, News Blogs and Citizen Journalism: New Directions for e-Journalism, Docstoc, viewed 21 September 2013, < http://www.docstoc.com/docs/29323680/News-Blogs-and-Citizen-Journalism-New-Directions-for-e-Journalism&gt;

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4 thoughts on “Citizen Journalism: A Blessing

  1. It is definitely a concern that our media is controlled by only a couple of large media companies. Finding other sources of news via blogs or organisations such as Global Voices is therefore extremely important. Citizen journalism and an increased number of information outlets outside ‘the majority’ are integral in order for us to be able to make informed decisions regarding issues within society. If we consume our media from many different sources, and not allow to be ‘spoon fed’ opinions by the majority, we can become better people who are able to ask questions and seek information. This also prevents exposure to bias, e.g. Rupert Murdoch’s clear preference of Liberal in politics as seen in this Media Watch episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5q7ZwV2kZE

  2. I strongly agree with you that citizen journalism is slowly becoming a larger part of daily media discourse consumed by the public.
    Citizen journalism has an essential role in ensuring voices from a local level are heard. Too often we consume media from large corporations that standardise their news to meet a number of target audiences, to sell news to a mass audience. Citizen journalism tends not to abide by large corporate ideologies and provides an on the ground, up to date, view of events. This is especially obvious in cases like the Arab Spring. Citizen Journalism, mostly through social media websites, was essential in mobilising citizens for protests, in highlighting key reasons for the protests, and for providing up to date coverage that wasn’t skewed to a Western, or government, perspective. This link (http://ijnet.org/blog/how-arab-spring-moved-citizen-journalists-use-more-maps-html5-video-instead-text) shows how the Arab Spring encouraged citizen journalists to use more video based reporting formats, rather than text style reporting. It suggests that new media formats were a perfect means of distributing news as they provided avenues for video coverage (through links on Facebook or Twitter) as well as text based coverage (like tweets themselves).

  3. I have always been aware of citizen journalism and it hasn’t surprised me – people have a natural instinct to want to share the knowledge they learn. We pass on our experiences in everyday life to the people around us, the internet has just made this more public and allowed us to do it on a larger scale. I read this article during my research for the topic this week that I think you will find interesting – take a look:
    http://dicg202ei972.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/url-so-2003/comment-page-1/#comment-13

  4. I agree with your point that citizen journalism needs to be able to take on a larger role when it comes to the reporting of news. It is a definite concern of mine that people are being led astray by the mass media, who’s main goal seems to be profit rather than awareness and accuracy. Citizen journalism is also very important because it shows us real time reporting rather than having to wait for the hourly radio updates, the 6 o’clock news or the paper to be published. I think that the mainstream media and citizen journalists work best when being viewed together

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