Citizen journalism is present in the everyday society through the use of the internet and mobile technologies. The basic idea of the news and how it is being presented and captured is experiencing a fundamental shift in society. Nearly 60% of people are not using Facebook as a recurring news source while magazines and newspapers struggle to keep up with the news. Many people express the idea that traditional news outlets have become slow in reporting news and in some cases have too much of an underlined agenda in their reporting.
Citizen journalism has the opportunity and the tools of modern technology and a limitless reach of the internet to create content that would probably not have been revealed without. This new system of journalism allows for independent parties to create a wide range of relevant information that can be seen as crucial to a democratic society.
Citizen journalism can be a very powerful tool, as individuals can bring aspects of information to the forefront of a case. An example of this would be the news release of Jamaica’s constabulary communication network which indicated that a man who was shot and killed by police attacked them first. However, citizens that were witnesses to this case circulated a video of the attack that told a very different story to the one that the police were circulating. It was seen through the footage that the man had in fact been attacked and beaten by the police officers before being shot whilst lying subdued on the ground. In this case, citizen journalism was a very important aspect of evidence that revealed the truth of the encounter.
However, citizen journalism doesn’t always go as planned. During the Boston bombings, there was a search for the suspect on the website Reddit. There were unchecked facts which lead the manhunt to the wrong man who was found to be dead from suicide. The website Reddit is a valuable resource which allows users to post and aggregate content in a way that could have really helped the investigation, however, due to the wrong facts in the event found to have gone off track.
Citizen journalism is great, especially when it’s done through the right platforms and with the right information.
- Barnes, C. (2012) ‘Citizen journalism vs. Traditional journalism: A case for collaboration’, Caribbean Quarterly, 58(2/3), p. 16.
- DeMers, J. (2013) How social media is supporting a fundamental shift in journalism. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/how-social-media-is-suppo_b_3239076 (Accessed: 16 September 2016).