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“Histories of Citizen Journalism” – Stuart Allen<br />Allen: citizen journalism has “secured its place in journalism’s vocabulary”<br />Boxing day 2004 tsunami: video footage, images from mobile phones & cameras, and personal accounts <br />News organisations utilised this wealth of information<br />Citizen journalism: often associated with crisis events.<br />
Boxing day tsunami<br />The significancewas highlighted by media commentators & journalists just days following the event.<br />They agreed it represented a “tipping point” in citizen journalism and that it was the first time that hundreds of regular people produced powerful coverage of a large news event. <br />Channel 4 UK made a special “Tsunami: Caught on Camera”, all composed from citizen video footage, released in 2009. <br />
Online & mobile reporting: crisis events <br />Significant rise in internet usage and uptake of digital technologies<br />BUT<br />“the Internet remains far from universally available”. -- G. Meikle.<br />Other notable events:<br />September 11<br />London bombings<br />Hurricane Katrina<br />After these events, claims <br />that citizen journalism was <br />a “fad” were discounted<br />
WAR: WHERE IS RAED? <br />Began as a personal blog <br />Evolved as he began documenting “life on the ground” in Iraq from 2003<br />Soon recast as a source of citizen reporting<br />The Guardian (2003): “his weblog had blossomed… from idle chat to startling reportage”.<br />
“One day, like in Afghanistan, those journalists will get bored and go write about Syria or Iran; Iraq will be off your media radar. Out of sight, out of mind. Lucky you, you have that option. I have to live it”. -- May 2003<br />
Citizen journalism websites<br />Provide people a direct outlet to post reportage.<br />Sri Lanka: “groundviews”.<br />“to strengthen… marginalised yet vital voices… this site was the first attempt in Sri Lanka to create a means through which citizens in civil society could pen their own perspectives of lifein conflict zones, call attention to humanitarian emergencies, give information on security / ground conditions and present alternatives to the status quo”.<br />http://www.groundviews.org/<br />
Pakistan floods 2010<br />Surge in citizen journalism<br />Citizen’s Eye: global platform for citizen journalism. Chapters: Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, UK<br />Pakistani founder, Mudassar Khan: offers “grassroots” news – mainstream media limited to “helicopter journalism”.<br />
Tagline: Views & News directly from Citizens <br />http://www.citizenseye.com/<br />Citizen’s Eye was contacted by newspapers and a TV channel in Pakistan wanting to use contributors as sources.<br />“…we as a citizen journalism body became the source of news for mainstream media” – Khan.<br />
Pakistan floods: video footage<br />“CITIZENTUBEis a feed of the latest breaking news videos on YouTube”.<br />http://www.citizentube.com/<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI3murr9hhk<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icOTusCqhL0<br />
Advantages of citizen journalism<br />“Embedded reporting” – CJs are on the scene: <br />- Regular journalists often can’t access a crisis/conflict scene immediately or at all due to danger<br />- On-the-ground perspective: rather than traditional reporting which reports at arm’s length<br />- Personal, raw, revealing – compelling reportage<br />- Easy access to other witnesses<br />- Event reported “as it happens” – immediacy. E.g. London Bombings<br />- Consequently, beat international media to story. Content often appropriated by mainstream media<br />
Advantages cont...<br />Reportage independent of large news organisations <br />Free of government & military agenda and defies censorship<br />Graininess of footage e.g. London Bombings – more compelling, raw.<br />
Disadvantages<br />Confirming validity is difficult: <br />- Fact-checking may not be as thorough, info may be inaccurate<br /><ul><li>Problematic re: mainstream media’s use of CJ material. Arun Gupta, The Indypendent: “There is potential for just an enormous amount of propaganda and disinformation being spread through Twitter and one has absolutely no way of knowing it”. </li></ul>Subjective<br />Access to Internet & digital technology - not universal. <br />
Steve Outing:[New media expert] <br />“And as with September 11, the tsunamis changed the media landscape. They thrust into the limelight an army of accidental journalists. Perhaps as a result, now is the time when citizen reporters will begin to join the ranks of journalism's working class in informing the public -- not as professional equals, yet in some ways as important in the grand scheme of news”.<br />
BIBLIOGRAPHY<br />Allan, S 2009, ‘Histories of Citizen Journalism’, in A Stuart and E Thorsen (eds), Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives, New York: Peter Lang, pp 17-32.<br />Channel 4 2009, Tsunami Caught on Camera, 29 December, http://www.channel4.com/programmes/tsunami-caught-on-camera/episode-guide/series-1/episode-1<br />Gupta, A 2009, quoted in Al Jazeera report, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VGzm7YNSJg<br />Internet Usage Statistics 2010, Internet World Stats 30 June, http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm<br />McAthy, R 2010, ‘Pakistan floods: mainstream media turns to citizen journalism’, Journalism.co.uk 5 August, http://www.journalism.co.uk/2/articles/539954.php<br />McCarthy, R 2003, ‘Salam’s Story’, The Guardian 30 May, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/may/30/iraq.digitalmedia<br />Meikle, G 2009, Interpreting News, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 170-195.<br />Outing, S 2005, ‘Taking tsunami coverage into their own hands’, Poynter Online 6 January, http://www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=76520<br />Srinivas, S 2005, ‘Online Citizen Journalists Respond to South Asian Disaster’, OJR 7 January, http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/050107srinivas/<br />