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Citizen journalism


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Introduction to Online Journalism
University of Connecticut
Fall 2011

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Citizen journalism

  1. 1. Citizen Journalism Introduction to Online Journalism Prof. Marie K. Shanahan University of Connecticut November 2011
  2. 2. The idea… <ul><li>… 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. </li></ul><ul><li>-- Mark Glaser, MediaShift, </li></ul>
  3. 3. Citizen Journalism: Motivation <ul><li>What level of trust and credibility do people feel toward journalists/media where you live? </li></ul><ul><li>Rising from dissatisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>By the late 1990s, critics were decrying the press as arrogant, elitist and unresponsive to the public. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Citizen Journalism: Engines
  5. 5. Self-publishing <ul><li>Blogging, Facebook and other digital self-publishing tools now provide an outlet for the discontented. </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet lets anyone with access to a server take the media into their own hands. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Democracy <ul><li>Empowered by the technology of an Internet age, citizen journalism has changed the playing field of news gathering and the ability of authorities to oppress dissent. </li></ul>
  7. 7. “ Everyone ’ s composing their own flow. And once you start becoming the composer of your own flow, you can ’ t go back. ” <ul><li>- Lars Bastholm, Digital creative leader, Ex-CCO at Ogilvy, AKQA </li></ul>
  8. 8. Timeline Rise of digital technology & citizen journalism
  9. 9. September 11, 2001: Terror Attacks <ul><li>Demand for immediate news about the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 had people turning to websites, e-mail, weblogs and forums “as conduits for information, commentary and action.” </li></ul>
  10. 10. Do-it-yourself journalism <ul><li>eyewitness accounts </li></ul><ul><li>photo galleries </li></ul><ul><li>commentary </li></ul><ul><li>personal storytelling </li></ul><ul><li>“ sharing” </li></ul>
  11. 11. Feb. 2, 2003: Space Shuttle Explosion National Weather Service radar detects debris from the Space Shuttle Columbia, which broke up on atmospheric re-entry.
  12. 12. Columbia Space Shuttle disaster <ul><li>NASA and the Dallas Morning News, use the web to call upon the public to submit: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>eyewitness accounts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>photographs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provide clues to the cause of the spacecraft’ s disintegration </li></ul>
  13. 13. Feb. 18, 2003: Worldwide Protests <ul><li>In response to the massive worldwide demonstration organized to protest the start of the Iraq war , BBC News asked readers to send in images of the demonstrations around the world. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Protesting start of the Iraq war <ul><li>The BBC asked specifically for protest images taken with digital cameras and cell phones with built-in cameras. </li></ul><ul><li>It published the best submissions on its web site. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Dec. 26, 2004: Tsunami <ul><li>A 9.1-magnitude underwater earthquake caused a huge tsunami in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Tsunami aftermath <ul><li>More than 225,000 people in 11 countries died as a result of the tsunami. </li></ul><ul><li>News footage taken by witnesses armed with mobile communication devices was widely disseminated, stirring a worldwide humanitarian effort. </li></ul>
  17. 17. May 27, 2005: SMS & American Idol <ul><li>‘ American Idol’ TV watchers send 41.5 million text messages, training Americans to send SMS. </li></ul>
  18. 18. July 7, 2005: London Bombings <ul><li>Terrorists blow up three underground trains and a double-decker bus in London, killing scores and injuring hundreds. </li></ul>
  19. 19. London bombings <ul><li>The use of camera and video phones by passengers provided on-scene news photos of the terrible event in London. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Aug. 2005: Hurricane Katrina <ul><li>New Orleans is devastated by Category 4 hurricane and flooding. </li></ul><ul><li>Online citizen writers undermine the “mainstream” news story by offering a contrary version of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. </li></ul>
  21. 21. May 2006: Texting American Idol <ul><li>‘ American Idol’ sets another SMS record, generating 64.5 million text messages on Cingular, breaking the previous record of 41.5 million messages. </li></ul>
  22. 22. March 9-18, 2007: Twitter at SXSW <ul><li>Twitter gains attention from news organizations during the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. </li></ul><ul><li>It is named the best blogging tool by attendees to share news and opinion, and to arrange tweet-ups at parties.  </li></ul>
  23. 23. April 16, 2007: Virginia Tech massacre <ul><li>The perpetrator, Seung-Hui Cho, kills 32 people and wounds many others before committing suicide. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Virginia Tech Massacre <ul><li>VT student Jamal Albarghouti used his cell phone to capture video of the shootings in progress and sent them to CNN ’s iReport citizen journalism website. </li></ul><ul><li>The video clips were then broadcast widely by CNN and other media. </li></ul>
  25. 25. August 1, 2007: Minn. Bridge Collapse
  26. 26. Minneapolis Bridge Collapse <ul><li>Citizen journalists using mobile devices captured some of the first images of the devastation and posted them to CNN ’s iReport website, which were then broadcast widely. </li></ul><ul><li>Citizen journalist witnesses also helped to describe the disaster to CNN anchors on air. </li></ul>
  27. 27. September 2007: Protests in Burma <ul><li>Citizen protests in Burma were largely reported to the world through photos and video captured on mobile phones. </li></ul><ul><li>Immediacy: Digital images of monks being attacked in reached a global online public in a matter of hours, rather than days, quickly moving the world to action. </li></ul>
  28. 28. October 2007: California wildfires <ul><li>Traditional media outlets solicit submissions from people capturing news about the fires with cell phone cameras and posting the information on blogs, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. </li></ul>
  29. 29. California wildfires <ul><li>Multimedia platform Veeker said that NBC San Diego received more than 2,000 submissions of pictures and video related to the wildfires. </li></ul>
  30. 30. October 2007: Mobile Journalism Toolkit <ul><li>Nokia and Reuters announce partnership to create the Mobile Journalism Toolkit : Nokia N95 cell phone, keyboard, small tripod, solar charger — technologies used by amateurs to capture local news. </li></ul>
  31. 31. May 2008: ‘ Idol’strikes again <ul><li>AT&T announces that more than 78 million messages have been sent for the latest season of ‘Idol’ — the most popular show on television. </li></ul><ul><li>Some argue that “American Idol” voting has significantly helped the adoption of SMS among the masses in the United States. </li></ul>
  32. 32. September 2008: Kashmir’ s mobile phone chroniclers Citizens using mobile phones document atrocities during demonstrations, then post footage on YouTube .
  33. 33. 2007-2008: U.S. Presidential Election <ul><li>Thousands of individuals, as well as major news organizations, post 140-character news updates and opinion using Twitter. </li></ul><ul><li>Journalists and many others use their mobile devices and Twitter to “ microblog .” </li></ul>
  34. 34. June 2009 Unrest following Iranian elections <ul><li>Twitter proves significant in keeping Iranians and the world advised as to happenings in Iran -- where open Internet/cell phone communication had been thwarted. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Since then… <ul><li>Haiti Earthquake – 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Wikileaks - 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Huffington Post bloggers - 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>Japanese Tsunami - 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>Arab Spring - 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Occupy’ Protests - 2011 </li></ul>
  36. 36. Most citizen journalists… <ul><li>“… don’t want newsroom jobs – they just have something to say. </li></ul><ul><li>And often they want to say it because those of us on the professional side are too busy with the big stories to see the little items that mean so much to people. ” </li></ul><ul><li>--Clyde H. Bentley, Univ. of Missouri School of Journalism, 2008  </li></ul>
  37. 37. Observing it vs. Living it <ul><li>A professional journalist researches the issues, talks to people involved, checks facts and crafts the results into a story. Then they move on. </li></ul><ul><li>A citizen journalist or blogger, however, lives the story and is not motivated by a paycheck. </li></ul><ul><li>Are you concerned about the competition? </li></ul>
  38. 38. Wisdom of the crowd <ul><li>Mainstream media reporters and producers are realizing they are not the exclusive center of knowledge on a subject. </li></ul><ul><li>Collectively, the audience knows more than the reporter does alone. </li></ul>
  39. 39. Integrating Citizen Journalism <ul><li>Allowing comments </li></ul><ul><li>Providing tools for readers/users to submit articles, photos, ratings </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging, photo sharing and social networking. </li></ul><ul><li>Refocusing coverage on local news </li></ul>
  40. 40. UGC & Ethics <ul><li>“ 50-pound slab of blue ice falls off Air Force One, narrowly missing Occupy Las Vegas protesters” (made-up story posted by blogger) </li></ul><ul><li>“ West Valley City mayor admits using false identity to write news stories” (unethical) </li></ul>
  41. 41. Ethics <ul><li>Should citizen contributors be made aware of newsroom editorial standards? Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Should we have different sets of standards for UGC content appearing in print, broadcast or online? Why? </li></ul>
  42. 42. User Generated Content <ul><li>Volunteer contributions from members of community allow sites to widen and deepen coverage in non-traditional ways </li></ul><ul><li>Always label source of UGC </li></ul><ul><li>Be transparent about contributors backgrounds and surface any potential conflicts of interest </li></ul>
  43. 43. Fact Checking <ul><li>“ Part of our jobs as journalists – the distrusted MSM, or mainstream media – is to provide context and perspective in a world where blogs, YouTube and Twitter have supercharged the news cycle.” </li></ul><ul><li>There are now zillions of places you can go to find information, but far too few that attempt to sort out what it all means.” </li></ul><ul><li>- Stuart Leavenworth, Sacramento Bee, Nov. 27, 2011 </li></ul>