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>
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