The idea of us, as students, being “knowledge producers not knowledge consumers” really stood out to me during Adrian’s ‘Unlecture’. I think this is an accurate way to sum up this entire network of new media, instead of being passive consumers of it, we can now actively create and disseminate pieces of media that interests us.
The aspect of this that most interests me is that of ‘citizen journalism’, when normal people become involved with creating the news and conveying the facts through the avenue of new media. This has been seen on social media sites such as Reddit and Twitter, and gained prominence following the reporting of the Aurora Cinema Shooting and the Boston Bombings.
‘Citizen journalism’ has it obvious and widely publicised flaws and downsides, such as questions of accuracy, defamation, and trust, but I think it is an exciting and innovative way to find out about the news, and in turn allow the audience to become ‘knowledge producers’.
Nowadays, virtually every news story breaks on Twitter. The very first early witness reports or photos will slowly spread to other social media sites and traditional news sources, but with this new media, the best way to keep up to date is to be on Twitter and the like. I think this also allows for more personal, and sometimes honest, reporting, as it is initially coming from people that just happen to be somewhere, and just happen to document the newsworthy event that is taken place.
There is the argument that this rise in citizen journalism is contributing to the perceived ‘downfall’ of traditional journalism, but I think it is more than possible for the two to work together. If done well and cooperatively, both traditional journalism and citizen journalism can complement each other, and ensure that the people get the most accurate news as possible. The news first breaks online on social media, but it still requires professional journalists to get the backstory, and the inside story, and possible consequences, in a way that is impossible for a normal citizen.
This is a TED talk by Paul Lewis, where he details this new phenomenon of ‘citizen journalism’ and how it is revolutionising the reporting of information, as well giving some relevant examples. I found it extremely interesting, and I also think that it relates directly to Networked Media, and how these networks that we are studying can be utilised for good causes.