When thinking about citizen journalism, what first comes to mind?
What Is Citizen Journalism?
-Members of public playing an active role in news and information
-Citizen media, not professional journalism
-Personal broadcasting sites
-Participatory news sites
Timeline of Citizen Journalism Popularity and Demand 2001 September 11th 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster 2004 Indonesian Tsunami 2005 American Idol Voters 2007 Virginia Tech Shootings 2009 Iranian Elections
Rise of do-it-yourself journalism
Want for eye-witness accounts
Demonstrations and protests
Mobile phone response
Layers of Online Citizen Journalism
1)Opening up to public comment
4)Stand-alone citizen journalism sites,unedited
5)Integration of pro-journalism and citizen journalism
Now let's take a look at each separate layer to better understand how Citizen Journalism works...
1) Public Comment
What? News sites enabling users to comment on articles,videos,etc.
Why it’s important: Gives readers the opportunity to react, praise, and criticize major news outlets coverage of events. Readers often bring up points of the issue that were not originally raised in the publication. In many instances, these comments are incorporated in the actual post
Blogging sites support public commenting most frequently. However, over the last decade more news sites have been opening their articles up to public comment to incorporate citizen journalism
Public comment has not always been a concept without flaw. In many cases, the content have the posts has been debated. For example, should the public be able to comment on posts such as obituaries? Where to we draw the line? Many sites moderate and limit commenting.
2) Citizen Blog House
What? A way for citizens to get involved with the news through online posting
Why it's important: Blogging is a powerful and inexpensive way for the everyday citizen to get involved. Through this publishing tool, any individual is able to reach out to a broad audience. In a lot of cases, non journalists, or those who are not professional journalists, offer the most interesting and raw perspectives on issues.
Blogs are an interesting facet of citizen journalism because in many cases they are very specialized. People can find exactly what they're looking for in terms of news. For example, many popular cultural blogs include fashion and cooking. So instead of subscribing to a magazine, the audience can turn to the everyday bloggers for advice.
A problem with citizen blogging is the consistency of its appeal. In many cases, blogs start out as interesting However, because there is no limit to the content posted the material sometimes drags on or adversely dies out as the blog shuts down completely. In this way, we see that citizen blogging is not always as reliable and stable as that of major news sites.
3-4.) News Room and Unedited Sites What? A specific type of citizen blogging. Why it's important: Transparency news blogs share the inner workings of the newsroom to the public. Example: http://www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/conversation
Readers are able to specifically pinpoint what they think is wrong with news organizations. Newsroom blogs and sites that are unedited give the public a stronger sense of trust in news organizations. Not all websites have “transparency” blogs. In many cases, an editor’s blog is offered where the top editor explains the inner workings and how editorial decisions are made.
Unedited stand alone citizen journalism sites are helpful but problematic. Any content is allowed to be published and its difficult to have safeguards against inappropriate content.
How do we fix this?A practical model is for sites to include“ report misconduct” buttons on stories in photographs. We see this same technique used on social media sites such as Facebook. No one is closely monitoring each individual page because that is not realistic. However, if someone sees the content and believes its not suitable for the site, it may be reported easily, and then investigated.
What: The combination of citizen journalism and professional journalism.
Why it’s important: It goes without saying that not all citizen journalism is accurate or newsworthy. However, some sites, such as the South Korean site “OhmyNews” have began to review submitted articles. This site specifically features 70 percent of citizen submitted articles, with the rest from pro-reporters.
I I ntegrating citizen journalism and professional journalism is profitable for many news sites. Think about it . The content is submitted without charge, but the content is screened. This kind of media organization and may serve as a model that rivals traditional journalism.
Examples of integration: food section featuring articles not only written by professional staff critic but also by the everyday customer, a city council meeting not only being covered by a correspondent but by someone who attended a meeting