Many news organizations have come to accept and even embrace the fact that consumers have a more intimate role in news producing. The majority of news sites are incorporating blogs and social media into their news gathering/sharing and are taking advantage of what is now known as “citizen journalism.”
After completing this module students will have a better understanding of:
How media uses citizens to gather the most up to date data and information
What types of “citizen journalist” methods are out there for students to take advantage of
What ethical issues this may raise for journalist credibility
Who is winning and losing when citizens become the journalists
Citizens doing the work
In our current society there’s no way around the fact that news consumers want to be in on the action. People are no longer sitting blindly behind their newspapers and TV screens waiting for the news to be reported to them. Consumers are taking control of what’s being seen and heard.
With the rise of social media sites like YouTube and Facebook news coverage is seen as more “raw;” not to mention the fact that growing cell phone and camera technology has given the audience the tools to gather the action and share it immediately. Often times this means they are getting it out to other consumers much faster than a news outlet could.
This raises an important question:
How do media outlets use and compete with consumer reporting?
CNN is just one example of how media outlets are developing to involve the consumer in news gathering
In 2006 they developed iReporting , which is seen as the newest phenomena in media formatting giving the audience the opportunity to fully embrace their roll as citizen journalists by being able to immediately upload video footage, audio tracks and photos to be broadcast online as legitimate news
Lila King is the Participation Director for CNN:
Click here to hear directly from King about the history and thinking behind the creation of a participatory news outlet
Hear more from Lila King on: Read more HERE about how CNN defines iReporting & check out some FAQ’s about how it works. If user generated content is the future of news If consumers can trust iReport content
iReport’s first year
Go through the interactive timeline of CNN iReport’s first year here
Examine how each citizen journalist covered the most significant events from August 2006 - August 2007
Do you think that after one year this participatory newsgathering system can be deemed successful?
What does participatory news look like?
Citizen journalism has allowed people around the US and the world to gather together over an event at the click of a button. We’ve seen great examples of this over the past years. Hurricane Katrina and the Virginia Tech shooting are two domestic examples that happened toward the forefront of citizen journalism
Watch these examples of citizen journalism that made headlines:
“ Jamal Albarghouti's cell phone video offered the only scenes of the drama unfolding during a shooting rampage on the Virginia Tech campus that killed more than 30 people. His video was broadcast around the globe on CNN minutes after he sent it to iReport. The Nokia phone he used to capture the video is now part of the collection of news history at the Newseum in Washington” (CNN). Watch here
Five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast iReporters collaborated to compile a powerful “Then and Now” photography project
Click through the presentation here
What do professional journalists think of this?
“ In journalism, the ‘ism’ is more important than the ‘ist’” -Amy Gahran
Those in favor:
Former full time journalist, editor and managing editor and now media consultant has been involved with some of the most respected media outlets in the world. She began her own Web blog contentious.org where she discusses communication in this online age. As a seasoned journalist Gahran is clear on her view that citizen journalism and professional journalism should work in tandem. In 2007 she was quoted saying:
Gahran was asked by a University student:
“ Why are folks from news organizations/journalism schools still so hung up on building fences to divide amateaur from professional journalism?”
Please read her Q & A session in response to this question HERE
What do professional journalists think of this?
"It is important that we defeat what appears to be a land grab by citizen journalists and blind accountants.” - Ron Steinman
Those in dissent:
NBC’s Saigon bureau chief during the Vietnam War and now the executive editor of The Digital Journalist has taken a bold stance against the rise of citizen journalism. He writes that, “Without training, and the high standards that training brings, something that the supporters of citizen journalism decry as hoary, there would be no journalism at all.”
In 2009 Steinman wrote an article titled, “Citizen Journalism: A recipe for disaster” in The Digital Journalist , which included his commentary on the up and coming role that citizens are playing in the journalism world.
Please take the time to investigate his opinion HERE
Pro-Citizen: A Hybrid
The Poynter Institute describes itself as “a school dedicated to teaching and inspiring journalists and media leaders. It promotes excellence and integrity in the practice of craft and in the practical leadership of successful businesses. It stands for a journalism that informs citizens and enlightens public discourse.”
They believe that a professional/citizen hybrid can be achieved and be successful for all parties involved.
Steve Outing is a columnist who has spent 14 years advising media companies on Internet strategy. Outing composed what he considers to be “The 11 layers of citizen journalism” for media outlets trying to create this “hybrid.”
Read HERE how Outing thinks media outlets can develop to cater to this new journalism demographic.
Think about it
Do you think the citizen journalists captured the events in an effective way? Y/N
Do you think you would trust information from citizen journalists as you would professional journalists? Y/N
If a big event was happening around you would you take part in being a citizen journalist? Y/N