The Inside Story: Citizen Journalists

 

we-are-citizen-journalism

An inside look at Citizen Journalism, by Denise Kennedy

It’s been around for years, and you have possibly been doing it but never thought of it in this context. It keeps you awake at night when you should be asleep, but when the writing bug hits you, the pen (or the keyboard) is in control. For all the writers reading this, it comes as no surprise that writing has been a passion of many since time began, but for some of you the title for a specific type of writing is new news for you: I speak of the trendy, hipster, dedicated blogger, known as ‘the citizen journalist’.

The following definition given by Rosen sums it up quite simply:

“When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, that’s citizen journalism’. (Jay Rosen, 2008)

Citizen journalism is based upon the occupation of citizen writers, processing, collating and producing content for public readership, news and information.

According to Bowman and Willis, (We Media, 2003), written back in 2003:

“We are at the beginning of a Golden Age of journalism — but it is not journalism as we have known it. Media futurists have predicted that by 2021, “citizens will produce 50 percent of the news peer-to-peer.” However, mainstream news media have yet to meaningfully adopt or experiment with these new forms. Historically, journalists have been charged with informing the democracy. But their future will depend not on only how well they inform but how well they encourage and enable conversations with citizens. That is the challenge.”

It is important to note that we cannot make the mistake of confusing what is known as Community Journalism and Civic Journalism, which are both related to the actual writing and reporting of professional journalists. The huge increase of media access, online platforms, digital marketing and new technology, have all led to growth in volume of citizen produced articles, and as this trend is set to rise, it can be expected that citizen journalists will most definitely be seen on a larger scale moving forward.

Denise Kennedy

March 2015

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