Citizen journalism: Friend or foe?

14 Aug

Let me properly introduce myself. My name is Alex and I am an emerging journalist, fresh from a semester abroad in Spain. I am most interested in online journalism and particularly, how quickly it has changed the media landscape.

Image

Now to the topic for this week’s entry: citizen journalism. These days anyone can produce and publish news. It’s as easy as posting a tweet, updating a blog or snapping a few photos or videos.  People want to actively participate in the news they consume, be it through commenting, sharing or writing their own.

The growing use of mobile devices with Internet means most people have the capacity to record and almost instantaneously publish what they see.

Image

It is a wonderful thing for citizens, but what I want to know is- what does it mean for journalists?

Well, according to this week’s lecture presented by Trina McLeallan to our ‘Online Journalism’ cohort, it means a serious decline of traditional news methods. The rise of social media, blogs and other free platforms is making it increasingly difficult to turn journalism into profit.  No one wants to pay for a print newspaper when they can read, share and comment on online news for free. What this means for us is, more journalism; less jobs.

Don’t worry; it’s not all bad news.

Citizen journalism and mainstream media can work together. On the 28th of November 2010 WikiLeaks began publishing over 250,000 leaked U.S State Department cables, cables which were seized by mainstream media outlets and have subsequently become the basis of reporting for journalists around the globe.

Image

This means we (budding journalists) can use citizen journalism, which is often published first, to find stories.

It looks like citizen journalism is a little bit friend and a little bit foe. The mass of free content it creates is contributing to the demise of paid jobs, while also providing inspiration for mainstream media reporting.

Either way, I think it’s here to stay and might as well be embraced.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: