George gave a really good example in this post, similar to what I discussed in my entry below, of citizen journalism. The smart phone application that he mentioned, called ‘Five-O‘ is designed as an aid for police brutality victims, where he/she can record her/his experience, thereby providing a public record. If it succeeds in its intended purpose, it may help prompt investigation and action.
This made me think to the role of journalism, often referred to as the Fourth Estate, a concept designed by Edmund Burke, that suggests all journalists are public servants and have a duty to keep track of and and document anything the public has a right to know.
Digital medias have allowed the everyday citizen to take up this role in an effective fashion, where they can report and share breaking news, sometimes quicker than what traditional media reporters can. This brings be back to the culture of free labour, where the public is donating their time to occupy a role that many get paid to do.
However, it’s interesting to think about just how effective citizen journalism can be, and while it remains to be seen for George’s example, there are plenty of other instances (for example here and here) where this has indeed been the case.