Citizen Journalism

Citizen Journalism vs Professional Journalism

Citizen journalism is the reportage of news and information by the general public and has become increasingly prominent in todays technology-savvy society. What benefits does it hold, if any?

Citizen journalism came about as a move against biased reportage from news organisations and gave a way for the everyday citizen to share information from the individual’s perspective.

As more and more people become network literate, this movement has grown to colossal proportions, with thousands of sites solely dedicated to the collection and dissemination of stories from the public.

Anyone can contribute.

Anyone can share.

This added to a sense of immediacy within the media. If something newsworthy occurred, rather than waiting for a professional journalist to get on the scene, the general public was able to photograph and report on it in a matter of seconds, through a social media app on their phone.

Yet how can we trust these sources?

While traditional media organisations are far from always truthful and correct, we can assume that those reporting have some training and perspective.

We can also assume that they are aware of the importance of balance, fairness and accuracy, or that their work will travel through editors who hold this knowledge.

The everyday citizen may not hold these basic knowledge principles and even if they are a witness on the scene of a particularly newsworthy event, their take on a story may not always be truthful.

Journalists are more likely to have access to legitimate sources to help inform their stories, such as experts and academics, and therefore their work appears to be more valid.

More on validity here.

Also, watch Brian Conley talk about his perception of citizen journalism reshaping the world here.

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