By the people, for the people.
The role of citizen journalism today is compelling and indisputable.
You’re probably thinking, how?
Since the invention of blogging, tweeting and sharing on social media, the citizen journalist is being seen as more and more esteemed.
Citizen journalists can respond with incredible speed, and capture raw, unrestricted, uncut footage and share information world-wide instantly. They can benefit professional journalists by working together to provide them with content they don’t have. They can also report on topics of importance and interest to them; bypassing the rules of professional journalism, without the gatekeeping editors on their backs.
A power that was once only available to popular media enterprises has now pivoted itself into some sort of camaraderie.
After the launch of the W.W.W. (World Wide Web) in the late 20th century, the rapid expansion of media platforms has granted the once passive audience the privilege to become active participants.
Citizen journalists can upload content and report on independent and contemporary “news” sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. as it breaks.
And, as professional journalists can’t be everywhere anytime, this is where citizen journalists come in.
“… When major events occur, the public can offer us as much new information as we are able to broadcast to them.”
Available 24/7, citizen journalists have the strength to witness and report raw, unrestricted news as it breaks, that professional journalists can’t.
Where do you think all the footage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks came from? Or the Boston bombings? The London helicopter crash?
People with mobile phones are usually the first to unfold breaking events, whether it be by uploading videos through their iPhones, or rushing a 140 character post with the hashtag #OMGterroristattack on Twitter.
It is rapidly turning to an editorial endeavour to include citizen journalism in professional journalism everywhere, as they can improve the quality and coverage of information, and increase the trust of the large news outlets.
YouTube clip: “How London’s Helicopter Crash unfolded through Citizen Journalism” – Truthloader
Not only this, but the traditional media can be influenced by political agendas, while citizen journalists have no protective barrier between the public and themselves.
Often perceived as ‘by the people, for the people’, many see citizen journalism as relatable and honest.
Citizen journalism epitomises the experiences of people – it presents an array of communication podiums that give more intimate, relatable and nuanced views of events.
In addition, as the saying goes:
Although in my previous post I discussed how citizen journalism can show bias, this free, diverse and neutral voice can be seen to enhance the standard of democracy, making it a positive as well.
“[The Citizen Journalist] has the opportunity to present a unique perspective — to breathe fresh air into a society herded by mainstream media.”
This unrestricted and fast application of news and information by citizen journalists gives a broader and quicker view, allowing people to see the raw, uncut pictures of events, giving it that extra bit of honesty and a clearer picture of events, that is consequently used by major newsmakers.
I can’t help but think: will we see iPhones and citizens surpass newspapers and professional TV reporters? Or can the two principles co-exist?
Featured Image: Richard Sambrook, Flikr