Citizen journalism

Citizen journalism at work

What is citizen journalism? Journalism that is conducted by people who are not professional journalists but who disseminate information using Web sitesblogs, and social media – is the description given by Encyclopaedia Britannica online.

One only needs a mobile phone, or a computer, internet connection and a social media application to get started.

Citizen journalism has come about thanks to both the evolution of the Internet and the access to lower cost computing hardware. One without the other would not work. These two tool need to co-exist in order for individuals to produce content which maybe of journalist standards (or not).

The benefits of citizen journalism are that it gives more people access to make comment or report facts of events instantaneously from most places on earth. One can simply ‘tweet’ breaking news within seconds about an incident. This can compress the time required to break-news. An example of how this could be helpful would be in the event of a natural disaster. One could inform some networks if a volcano had erupted for example. Another could be private examination or research into an old crime that may have been closed by the police. One could pursue their own research and find new evidence by perhaps, creating a podcast about an older story. This has been done successfully in December 2018, where a Queensland teacher had been arrested over a disappearance that happened 36 years earlier.

Limitations with this perhaps convenience of reporting is that there can be a higher propensity for citizen journalists to get their reporting wrong or for there to be false representations. Additionally there could be higher incidents of defamations as people may spread opinion over facts. The traditional reporting in well established news organisations would be (or should be) more rigours in its’ views, and if there was any controversial pieces of writing they would have been checked-off with a media lawyer before going public. Therefore there would be at least a few layers of checks before a story would be presented. 

One can therefore ask now where will citizen journalism be going in the future?

By Billy Curry


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