Citizen journalism is often criticized as the bane of ‘proper’ journalism. It is generally accepted that journalism as a profession is struggling. Tim Phillips of research-live.com highlights that citizen journalists strictly work backwards in that the conclusion is used to prove the article. Congruently he discusses the opinion nature of most citizen journalists stating that the difference between journalists and citizen journalists is the difference between producing the truth (‘professional’ journalists) and sharing opinion (citizen journalists).
To merit any further insight into this idea we must constitute a difference between the two types of journalism. Citizen journalism is essentially when ordinary non-professional citizens do essentially what professional journalists do, report information. An important aspect to note is that citizen journalists are not obligated to follow a code of ethics, nor is their work restrained by any gatekeeping. This in itself is not a distinction between the two as anyone can abide to these ethics and (for lack of a better word) gate keep their work.
Journalism itself has not changed, the definition above is quite relative, however circumstances have led to a shift in the framework and medium utilised by journalists. Due to the expansion of the global network, and wholly, the information age, consumers of media are frequently looking online to fulfil their desire for a constant stream of information. As a result older mediums such as newspapers are beginning to die out.
This is important for both citizen journalists and ‘professional’ journalists. This reliance on the internet for news is the most crucial aspect which allowed for the germination of citizen journalism itself. This type of journalism thrives on blogging websites as well as social media. Congruently the internet allows citizen journalists to aggregate information, sources and breaking news thereby providing a somewhat objective chunk of data. This collection of data slightly negates Phillips’ idea that citizen journalists provide opinion pieces. While his argument is still not untrue, it is seen that opinion articles are not the only aspect of citizen journalism.
‘Professional’ Journalists, now expanding into the online universe, can utilise the accumulated data from citizen journalists to keep up with increased demands for a constant flow of news. The global network has provided ‘professional’ journalists with a new means of collecting content. As such it can be concluded that journalists rely on citizen journalists as a source aggregator, and citizen journalists rely on ‘professional’ journalists as a means of distributing reliable content.
Phillips, T. ‘Citizen journalism isn’t always A Good Thing’, research-live, Viewed September 21st 2014 < http://www.research-live.com/citizen-journalism-isnt-always-a-good-thing/4001064.blog >
Rogers, T. ‘Are Newspapers Dying?’, About News, Viewed September 21st 2014, < http://journalism.about.com/od/trends/a/dyingpapers.htm >
Rogers, T. ‘What Is Citizen Journalism?’, About News, Viewed September 21st 2014, < http://journalism.about.com/od/citizenjournalism/a/whatiscitizen.htm >