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Citizen journalism in the U.S.

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The idea behind “citizen journalism” is that news can be produced by ordinary people who have never been introduced to any professional journalistic training. “Citizen media”, “participatory media”, …

The idea behind “citizen journalism” is that news can be produced by ordinary people who have never been introduced to any professional journalistic training. “Citizen media”, “participatory media”, “street journalism”, “grassroots journalism”, “open-source media”, “the people’s media”… etc are all names that may refer to citizens taking part in the process of reporting news. This presentation attempts to give you an idea about the main concepts behind “Citizen Media”, shows how this latter functions in the U.S. and how people and professional media interact in the U.S. on the basis of the traditions of “citizen media.”

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  • 1. Citizen Journalism in the U.S. By Zakaria RMIDI FLSH. Ben M’sik MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 2. OUTLINE
    • Introduction to Citizen Journalism
    • Forms of Citizen Journalism
      • Commentary
      • Fact-checking
      • Filtering & Editing
      • Reporting
      • Audio/Video Broadcasting
    • Citizen Journalism Meets Professional Media in the U.S.
      • Radios
      • Televisions
      • Newspapers
      • Internet
    • The Implications of Citizen Media on the American Audience
    • The Implications of Citizen Media on the American Media
    • Criticism
    • Conclusion
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 3.
    • Howard Rheingold
      • “ I think people who are dedicated to establishing a reputation for getting the story right and getting it first don’t necessarily have to work for “The Washington Post” or “The New York Times”.”
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10 I- Introduction to Citizen Journalism (1)
  • 4. I- Introduction to Citizen Journalism (1)
    • “ Participatory Journalism: the act of a citizen, or group of citizens, playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information. The intent of this participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires.”
          • Shayne, B., & Willis, C. (2003). We Media: How Audiances are Shaping the Futur of News and Information. (J. Lasica, Ed.) Reston: The Media Center at the American Press Institute. P.9
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 5. I- Introduction to Citizen Journalism (2)
    • According to Mark Glaser, a freelance journalist who frequently writes on new media issues, the idea behind citizen journalism is 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.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 6. II- Forms of Citizen Journalism Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 7. 1. Commentary
    • Commentary is the minimum level of participation in citizen journalism .
    • forums, newsgroups, chat rooms and instant messaging have enabled online discussion on just about any subject of interest.
    • For example,
      • in the days following the Sept. 11 attacks, nearly one-third of all American Internet users “read or posted material in chat rooms, bulletin boards and online forums.”
      • weblogs have increased the signal of this activity, with some advocating the blog form as the next generation of newspaper.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 8. 2. Filtering and Editing
    • With the flood of information available, as well as competing demands of media attention, the door has opened for alternative forms of editing.
    • filtering, sorting, ranking and linking. This process is similar to “editing” in the sense of editorial judgment and selection.
    • Many news sites, such as MSNBC.com and CNN.com, employ a similar “Most Read Top 10,” where all site visitors’ choices are accumulated into a popularity ranking.
    • Other interesting examples of filtering systems include “ The New York Times’” ‘most e-mailed stories.’ and “ Time Magazine’s” ‘top 10 stories’.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 9. 3. Fact-checking
    • In both traditional media and citizen media the act of verification is a frequent activity and what follows is a community effort to uncover the truth.
    • Sometimes journalists enter the fray in an effort to uncover the truth in traditional media.
    • According to journalist Dan Gillmor “fact-checking is “tomorrow’s journalism.” It is a partnership of sorts between professionals and the legions of gifted amateurs out there who can help us — all of us — figure things out. It’s a positive development, and we’re still figuring out how it works.”
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 10. 4. Grassroots Reporting 
    • Internet users are eyewitness or first-hand accounts. They participate in the fact-gathering and reporting process and sometimes even conveying breaking news.
    • Weblogs and forums brought first-hand accounts and photography to the events of September 11.
    • “ Eyewitness reporting comes in large part from people’s desire to share their stories and publish the truth. These are key features in blog-based grassroots reporting, and a big reason that weblogs have exploded in popularity since September 11 th .”
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 11. 5. Audio/ Video Broadcasting
    • The Web has empowered the audience to play the role of audio or video broadcaster.
    • Websites like Youtube.com, dailymotion.com, googlevideo.com enable citizens to broadcast their own stories and news.
    • International channels like CNN also allow people to broadcast their own videos of newsworthy stories and events.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 12. III- Citizen Journalism meets Professional Media in the United States Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 13. 1. Radios
    • Many low power FCC non-commercial or educational license holders are considered community radio stations including high school radios and college radios, with various levels of participation by the public.
    • Local independent stations might be open to non-professional coming in to do a regular program, though not necessarily on the reporting side, more likely a music program or a call-in show to discuss current events and social problems.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 14. 1. Radios (2)
    • Stations like WBAI, KPFK, KPFA, and Pacifica Radio Network have program models which allow citizen participation in aspects of the station, including production.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 15. Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 16. 2. Newspapers (1)
    • The first American newspaper was “Publick Occurrences” which was shut down after its one and only issue on September 26, 1690.
    • This newspaper was printed on three sheets of stationery-size paper and the fourth page was left blank so that readers could add their own news before passing it on to someone else.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 17. 2. Newspapers (2)
    • Today, nearly every newspaper in the U.S. has a rubric dedicated to citizens’ participation. These rubrics are usually called “Letters to the Editor“, “Opinion”, “Have Your Say”… etc, where letters and stories from ordinary citizens are published.
    • However, major newspapers in the U.S. draw a certain line between the news pages and editorial pages, and only professional journalists write for the news pages.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 18. Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 19. 2. Newspapers (3) Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
    • “ Times” is one of the popular magazines in the US that interact with its readers through a rubric called “Opinion Leaders.”
  • 20. Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 21. Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 22. 2. Newspapers (3)
    • Besides, “the Associated Press” takes stories from “stringers” and photos from “paparazzis” . The AP filters those stories and photos to take the best of them according to the editorial standards it uses, and then those stories and photos are distributed to all newspapers around the nation that subscribe to the AP services.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 23. 3. Televisions (1)
    • With the birth of cable television in the 1950s came public interest movements to democratize television industry in the U.S. Legislated means have been developed for private citizens to access and use the local cable systems for their own community-initiated purposes.
    • Public access television in the U.S. is a government mandated model that enable citizens to get access to local TVs to produce and distribute their own television programming.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 24. 3. Televisions (2)
    • In the U.S. there is a way for ordinary citizens to create their own TV programming. A lot of regions have a public TV channel on the local cable network, where people can come in to create their own shows. This used to be more common because there was a law requiring TV networks to serve the community and offer equal time to different points of view, but this law was taken back under President Ronald Reagan.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 25. Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 26. Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 27. Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 28. 4. The Internet
    • The internet is the medium on which citizen media has its main impact.
    • The tools of modern technology (laptops , mobile phones, digital cameras, iphones…etc.) allow people to contribute to the process of making the news.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 29. 4. The Internet (2)
    • For example,
      • People may write about a city council meeting on a blog or in an online forum.
      • Or, they can fact-check a newspaper article from the mainstream media and point out factual errors or bias on your blog.
      • Or, snap a digital photo of a newsworthy event happening in their town and post it online.
      • Or, videotape a similar event and post it on a site such as YouTube.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 30. 4. The Internet (2)
    • In the U.S. there are hundreds of citizen journalism websites and blogs which encourage members of the public to publish news that is relevant to them.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 31. Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 32. Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 33. 4. The Internet (3) Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 34. 4. The Internet (3)
    • The American government joins the club of “Citizen media”, providing programs that enable people to report their own news such as: “Blogs at America.gov”
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 35. IV. Implications on the American Audience
    • American citizens are engaged more than ever in a conversations with their political representatives.
    • They take an active and collaborative role in the journalistic process.
    • The American audience is now more demanding and is no longer that passive consumers of news.
    • According to Dan Gillmor being a citizen journalist is an act of civic engagement.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 36. IV. Implications on American Media
    • Citizen media provides media companies in the U.S. with the potential to develop a more loyal and trustworthy relationship with their audiences.
    • Time magazine media critic James Poniewozik says: “Journalists think trust equals accuracy. But it’s about much more: passion, genuineness and integrity.”
    • Citizen journalism may offer more depth than the professional one which faces the standard limitations of reporting such as time and the available space.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 37. V. Criticism
    • David Simon, a reporter, writer and producer of the popular TV series "The Wire," criticized the concept of citizen journalism saying:
      • "I am offended to think that anyone, anywhere believes American institutions as insulated, self-preserving and self-justifying as police departments, school systems, legislatures and chief executives can be held to gathered facts by amateurs pursuing the task without compensation, training or for that matter, sufficient standing to make public officials even care to whom it is they are lying to."
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 38. VI. Conclusion Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 39. Bibliography
    • Clyde H. Bentley, Ph.D.(2008). Citizen Journalism: Back to the Future? Discussion paper prepared for the Carnegie‐Knight Conference on the Future of Journalism, June 20‐21, 2008. Cambridge, MA.
    • Dan, G. (2004). We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People. (A. Noren, Ed.) Sebastopol: O'Reilly Media, Inc.
    • Downie, L. J., & Schudson, M. (2009, October 20). The Reconstruction of American Journalism. Accessed March 14, 2010, on Colombia Journalism Review: http://www.cjr.org
    • Rachelle, G. (2007, April 20). Mainstream Media Meets Citizen Journalism: In Search of a New Model. Accessed March 14, 2010, on http://www.mediagiraffe.org
    • Shayne, B., & Willis, C. (2003). We Media: How Audiances are Shaping the Futur of News and Information. (J. Lasica, Ed.) Reston: The Media Center at the American Press Institute.
    Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10
  • 40. Paparazzis in the U.S. Zakaria RMIDI - FLSH.Ben M'sik - MA.MAS 2009/10

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