By: María Clara Cobo, Camila Vásconez, Juliana Zeller
Citizen journalism could be considering a technology. Just as technology evolves, so does citizen journalism. But what is citizen journalism exactly? Citizen journalism is a process in which private individuals provide with information that essentially professional reporters would; they report information. The information that gets through can range all the way from a text message, to a video. The thematic involved in citizen journalism are limitless. However, citizen journalism is mostly found online. In fact, citizen journalism had a rapid increase due to the appearance of the Internet. The internet serves as a very effective platform to get information through, allowing different independent individuals to provide with this information that in many cases happens to be of imperative importance.
“When people can express themselves, they will. When they can do so with powerful yet inexpensive Tools, they take to the new-media real quickly. When they can reach a potentially global audience, they literally can change the world.”- Gillmor (2004)
The means to report have been spread to an extent that pretty much everyone is now able to report on what is going on in the world they live in. The rapid development of technology has given society such privileges that allow us to capture a moment with just a –click. Texts, pictures and even videos are now being posted online for everybody to watch. Thus, citizen journalists have emerged, allowing citizens not only to be informed, but to become the informers.
The rise of information published globally through citizen journalism has raised many concerns among the journalistic industry. Unlike professionals, citizen journalists struggle to obtain credibility for their writing due to the fact that their articles may lack objectivity. One of the potential threats brought by the emergence of citizen journalism and online media is the decline of on-the-ground reporting.This job is performed by professional journalists who strive for objectivity, have developed sources on every side, and work with editors who revise their writing for any mistake included. Along with damaging the influence and reputation of professional journalists, who strive to provide the public with coherent information, the quality of the information published by citizen journalism is not only affecting journalists, but the whole industry of journalism as well.
While many consider citizen journalism harmful for the news industry, there are others who find it extremely helpful. The global understanding of our world brings several significant benefits to humanity. There are times when professional journalists are forbidden to report on specific stories, or they are not able to arrive to the scene on time. This is when citizen journalism becomes a tool fro the professionals. Pretty much everybody has the means to publish information on a specific subject. Cameras, phones and voice recorders are essential to the life of an individual nowadays. Therefore, citizens who posses these devices and are present in an event that deserves global attention, are journalists’ only hope to obtain information. There have been situations where the data provided by citizens is featured in newspaper, TV news or online. In addition, citizen journalists are given the opportunity to present a unique perspective about a topic. We all have something to say, and we are constantly craving to have a voice in this world; this is why citizens participate in reporting stories.
In conclusion, with the growth of the media and people’s access to it, it was imminent that citizen journalism would develop massively. As to its future, media and journalism are safe; however, the difference perceived between professional journalism and citizen journalism may become indistinct.
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