SoundCloud link: https://soundcloud.com/thatgirllauren/citizen-reporters-is-this
‘The definition of citizen journalism is ‘the collection, dissemination and analysis of news and information by the general public, especially by means of the internet’. Anybody that possesses a device capable of audio or visual recording (the most common and easily manageable form being a phone) can create their own news that are circled around current events occurring within a local or international perspective. Citizen journalism is being encouraged by groups such as local news channels, so the public can get a perspective on the issue from eyewitnesses present at the event and so the channels can have a more personal angle in their story. Through this, more individuals can become active participants in what information is passed off as news to the media public.
As mentioned before, the definition of citizen journalism states ‘especially by means of the internet’- this is where problems can occur when people create their own news. The internet is dialogic– there are no gatekeepers online to prevent or organise any of the content that goes out to the public. And, seeing as many people look to the internet for information, if one person voices out their opinion on a matter many others will do the same- the information can then become unreliable. An example of unreliable information that was then passed from one audience member to another is the Reddit ‘Boston bombings’ incident– Reddit users created the thread ‘findbostonbombers’ and collaborated theories and speculations. This ultimately ended with wrongful targeting of a missing- later revealed deceased -Brown University student as one of the bombers due to the unsourced information.’
We were once just formerly known as ‘the audience’- we were passive consumers of the internet. Now, with recent advances in technology and the digital media, we are becoming more active and, as a result, more people are starting to voice out their opinions on several matters at hand. The notion of ‘citizen journalism’ has been brought about due to this, where anyone can create their own content on the internet and use it as a form of information or news.
People are highly dependent on the internet for information; newspapers possess a cost and require the physical action of reading in order to obtain any information, while the internet comes in a range of different audio and visual mediums and all access to any content is entirely free. With this, people can add their own information within a matter of seconds rather than waiting around for over a week for their letter to be accepted by news companies. Also, passive consumers on the internet are more focused on content than what is actually provided as information in the news and feel more trusting towards content produced by other members of the media public.
The advances of the internet and its free roam and uploading nature is one of the main factors encouraging the amount of information by the public. Not only this, but news channels also encourage citizen journalism by asking people to send in footage on the issue at hand and then broadcast it to the remaining public. However, the reliability in this form of information is highly flawed- there are no gatekeepers on the internet due to its dialogic nature, so nobody can control which information is published or read by others let alone check if what people are saying is in fact true and backed up with evidence.
So if this information can be false and unsourced, can we consider this as proper journalism at all?
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