Are Citizen Journalist the new face of journalism?

Our live session this week in ICC 602 was interesting. During our asynchronous work we learned about the historical aspect of journalism and how we evolved from print to digital. One of the newer aspects of “journalism” that I found interesting was the idea of Citizen Journalism. Citizen journalism was defined by Mark Glaser as “the idea that people without professional journalism training can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact check media on their own or in collaboration with others”.

This is a far cry from journalism of the past. According to my classmate, Bill who has worked for a Long Island newspaper since 1999, newspapers “. It used to be about everyone having the same story. We used to have a few days to verify all information. Now the pressure is to get the story out quickly”. With the new hurry up and post something nature, the question of ethics comes into play. Bill states that journalist are often “tempted to be less focused on credibility. Pressure from editors to put the information out quickly but that’s not fair to readers and people they’re reporting on.”

I am on the fence on how I feel about classifying citizen journalist as “journalist”. I do believe they can create important and relevant stories. However when the aspect of quality and accuracy of these untrained journalist, I begin to question how effective a citizen journalist is. Due to the current need to be the first to post breaking news, citizen journalist are usually out and about, smartphone ready to take first-hand accounts and photos of events as they happen.

While I do question the authenticity of citizen journalist, there is no denying that various brands see the benefit of their voice to consumers. There are many brands that have bloggers (citizen journalist) sitting in the front row during NYFW, on red-carpets, and offering their views to popular designers like Diane von Furstenberg. Why? Because popular bloggers have a following with consumers and to their viewers their opinions matter. So there may be some credibility in citizen journalism. Just as we have to monitor reputable journalist (i.e. Brian Williams), we have to police citizen journalist as well.

Until next time,

Tanika

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