Some thoughts on Citizen Journalism

With the way that social media is flourishing in today’s society, citizen journalism has become the new way to spread news fast. No longer do you have to wait for the 6 o’clock news to find out the latest stories, but you can simply sign on to one of the many social networks and find streams of new stories. This citizen journalism provides easy access and a relatively constant flow of incoming news stories, which is a great advancement in terms of getting the story out there. The problem that I have with it is that I feel as though the journalism loses its authentication by being passed along by so many people. As explained in the article by Hermida, “through the discipline of verification, journalists determine the truth, accuracy, or validity of news events, establishing jurisdiction over the ability to objectively parse reality to claim a special kind of authority and status” (Hermida, 2012). I think that this accuracy and validity is lost in the social media and it is sometimes hard to decipher what is the truth and what is fiction. Before the media created the opportunity for citizen journalism, we got our news from watching it on TV or reading it in the newspapers and it was pretty safe to believe that the content was accurate for the most part. Now with sources such as Twitter and Facebook, anyone can post a story or a news fact and it has the potential for it to go viral without any verification of its truth. With all these new social media platforms where citizen journalism can occur, “this simply means that few journalistic organizations can afford to engage in much long-form, resource-intensive, investigative journalism” and “such tendencies lower the average quality of journalistic publications and broadcasts, and thereby further undermine the attractiveness of the journalistic product” (Bruns & Highfield, 2012).

I think that there are both pros and cons to citizen journalism but even though there are plenty of easy opportunities to participate, I am no more tempted to post now than I was before. I have never been one to post a lot on social networks, even though I have accounts for some of them. I am more of a consumer in that I use them to find the stories and try to educate myself on the latest news but I am not the one to share the stories. As easy as it is to find information these days and how convenient it is, I think that true journalism should be left to the professionals to try to preserve the accuracy of the information we receive.

Hermida, A. (2012). TWEETS AND TRUTH: Journalism as a discipline of collaborative verificationJournalism Practice. 6:5-6, p659-668.

Bruns, A. & T. Highfield. (2012). Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news: The produsage of citizen journalism. pre-publication draft on personal site [Snurb.info]. Published in: Lind, R. A. ed. (2012). Produsing Theory in a Digital World: The Intersection of Audiences and Production. New York: Peter Lang. p15-32.

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2 thoughts on “Some thoughts on Citizen Journalism

  1. You make a very good point about the loss of validity and accuracy when individuals post all over social media about the newest events. But like anything else, you cannot just rely on one source. We are taught this all our lives to double-check all information we get against multiple sources. When I’m on social media and see interesting news, I often jump on Google right away to get the full story. I rarely check out news sites randomly to see what is happening in the world. I took the same approach as you when saying it has both pros and cons and can agree that I do not use it any more than I already did.

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