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What is citizen journalism

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  • 1. Learning Objectives:• Understand what citizen journalism is and consider its implications.
  • 2. “Read-only” vs. “Read-write”
  • 3. Journalism 2.0Journalism 1.0 ConversationLECTURE
  • 4. • YouTube presents an interesting case study to illustrate the main themes: – YouTube style content is now infecting the mainstream media news agenda – Digital convergence has led to a blurring of the boundaries between reporter and audience – Mainstream news organisations are now using ‘citizen-journalist’ sources in greater numbers – This has implications for what we say about professionalism in journalism
  • 5. Media futurist Dan Gillmorpredicts that by 2021, ‘citizenswill produce 50 percent of thenews peer-to-peer’, howevermainstream news media, thatwe have grown up with, areyet to meaningfully adopt orexperiment with these newforms.
  • 6. The digital sublime• every radical media transformation induced by a new technology brings along the myth of the beginning of a new era• including the hopes for social change and almost religious visions of miracles which the new modes to move information should bring
  • 7. YouTube and thesurveillance society Police and other authorities now surveiling YouTube for “criminal” activity
  • 8. Non-professionals• Accidental journalists – eyewitnesses with a recording device/cellphone• Amateur journalists – bloggers who cover news, do original research and expose hidden issues• Citizen journalists – Amateurs with a particular social mission in politics, etc• Pro-am – a combination of the above with a professional journalist/mentor
  • 9. “Open source” journalismGrassroots journalism is part o the wider phenomenon of citizen-generated media—of a global conversation that is growing instrength, complexity and power.When people can express themselves, they will.When they can do so with powerful yet inexpensive tools, they takethe new-media realm quickly.When they an reach a potentially global audience, they literally canchange the world. Dan Gillmor, We the media (2006)
  • 10. ‘by the people, for the people’• Gillmor is a digital optimist – Society can no longer afford to rely on “Big Media” – News reporting is becoming a two-way conversation—a “seminar”, not a “lecture” – “Professional journalism’s worst enemy may be itself.” (xxvi) – Blogging and citizen journalism are in the tradition of bourgeois liberalism (eg: Thomas Paine)
  • 11. American CarnivalThe weakening of journalistic professionalism and centralityin this rapidly transforming system not only makes lies andhoaxes more possible but also poses compelling newquestions about the quality of news informing democraticsociety. (p.117)In such a new and still-evolving order, governed less andless by professionalism—or at least incognizant of the needfor standards—it becomes far easier for objective truth andbasic facts about important issues to become debatablenotions in civil society and political discourse. (p.31) Neil Henry, American Carnival (2007)
  • 12. “Fun house” and “freak show”• Neil Henry is a digital pessimist – Blogging and citizen media is more noise, less news – Attacks on professionalism / job cuts / reduced budgets weaken journalism – PR “hucksters” take advantage and bombard us with “fake news” – Does journalism matter? Yes it does – …but it is “troubled and confused” (p.208)
  • 13. The YouTube effectWelcome to the "YouTube effect." It is the phenomenonwhereby video clips, often produced by individuals acting ontheir own, are rapidly disseminated worldwide on websitessuch as YouTube and Google Video.YouTube has 34 million monthly visitors, and 65,000 newvideos are posted every day.YouTube is a mixed blessing: It is now harder to knowwhat to believe. How do we know that what we see in avideo clip posted by a "citizen journalist" is not amanipulated montage? Moises Naim, LA Times, 20 December 2006
  • 14. As a former journalist, I have finally realized what bothers me so much about the notion of citizen journalism. It is the veritable absence of investigative journalism. Why is it missing? Money. Pure and simple. (comment on Flip the Media blog in response to YouTube announcement)In the professional media, there is a firm code ofethics, such as preserving privacy and fairness of thepoint of view. Cub reporters are supposed to take alecture about ethical issuesI am concerned about the thriving of citizen mediawithout their following a code of ethics , it will be out ofcontrol.
  • 15. The observation that some videos actually reveal “truth” is thestart of a trend that is changing the way journalists approachstories.Yes, a journalist might have a great clip for a story fromYouTube. But the question remains: Is the story legitimate?Even though a video poster has uploaded his or her video for theworld to see, the journalists still have to sift through the fact andfiction.They still have to make the phone calls and set up interviews toconfirm information. Journalism for the 21st Century blog January 2007
  • 16. TV to reckon with YouTubeBBC does deal to getlicensed content on toYouTubeOn the other hand,Viacom sued Google forcopyright infringementBoth show that themainstream mediacannot ignore the“YouTube effect” anymore
  • 17. Optimism v Pessimism• Citizen journalism will forever undermine the power of the major broadcast and publishing news media• Journalism will either have to adapt or die, either way it’s a good thing• The corporates cannot afford to ignore UGC, nor let it outflank them• Instead the corporate global media giants will attempt to harness the power of social networking and UGC to enhance profits
  • 18. "The journalist of the future is going to be someone whois trained from the beginning to be flexible and work inan environment that mixes digital images, sound, textand the Internet as well as traditional newspapers,magazines and television and radio broadcasts.“ Sybril Bennett, New Century Journalism, Belmont College
  • 19. Who’s who in the digital zoo?• Clearly Youtubers are not ‘professional’ or ‘career’ journalists• However, it opens up parts of the news agenda to non-professionals• For audience it blurs the edges of ‘news’ even further• It appeals to digital natives more than mainstream media does• Professional journalism is still coming to terms with the “YouTube effect”