Citizen journalists: are they useful?

“Put very simply, citizen journalism is when private individuals do essentially what professional reporters do – report information.”

That makes no doubt the participatory Web challenges professional media. People can comment, correct, and add details to journalist’s work; professional journalists are no more in there ivory tower being unattainable. 

As written on this hoarding, you see something and you report it to a great channel like CNN and, congratulations: you are a citizen journalist! Indeed, everybody has the possibility to become a citizen journalist above all if you are at the right place at the right moment. But, are citizen journalists just depending on traditional media and simply adding value on information or describing what they see?

The opinions are shared

On the one hand, many people think that “the citizen journalist provides invaluable information that can democratize media, as well as nations.” On the other hand, people think citizen journalists are simply quoting professional media or commenting events.

A blogger analysed, on the collective blog E-Media Tidbits, how citizen journalists deal with the Mumbai bombing in 2008. She draw the conclusion that citizen journalists were simply providing comments but no analyse on the event. Citizen journalists simply did not had an overview of the bombing and still rely on traditional media to get information.

Are citizen journalists simply commentators? Like this video will show you, the debate between traditional media and citizen journalism is still burning.

But… do professional journalists use their rival’s work or look down upon it?

“You can’t depend on citizen journalists. I’ve got 12 reliable contributors from a community of 60,000″, asserted an american editor. Another editor confesses that they use some citizen-generated content. Just adding that they always need to complete more or less the articles.

Some journalists even do not understand why these people are called citizen journalists. “I’m also a citizen doing journalism!”, exclaimed recently Edwy Plenel, chief editor and founder of Mediapart. Finally, should these people be simply called citizen of a democracy, exercising their right of expression?

Citizen journalists’ defense: we “allow marginalized people to reclaim their voices, to tell their otherwise silenced stories firsthand“. With have seen it with the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements, new technologies help new topics to pop up. By using user generated content, people can talk about new topics challenging the agenda setting of Media.

According to citizen journalists, they may be considered as a rival to traditional media, helping people to get other points of view on news and to reach new topics. Thus, they claimed to follow the principles of journalism by giving a voice to marginalized people, but do they also follow the ethcial principles required to get a press pass?

More and more people are using technologies to express their opinions. What do you think: citzen journalists are they useful in a democracy or should only traditional Media play the role of gatekeepers?

  1. Introduction to GreeneWave TV: The Daily Wave, Citizen Journalism By Christopher Greene | Alternative News Report
  2. Introduction to GreeneWave TV: The Daily Wave, Citizen Journalism By Christopher Greene | Alternative News Report
  3. Introduction to GreeneWave TV: The Daily Wave, Citizen Journalism By Christopher Greene

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