Thursday, June 25, 2009

Citizen Journalism

There is a fresh buzz world in the world of journalism ---citizen journalism.
The phrase citizen journalism hogged the spotlight recently during the political upheaval in Iran.
The theocratic government is trying to suppress the flow of information in Iran.
Foreign journalists are booted out of the country, while the locals are arrested.
That is why demonstrators, protesters, are trying to report the news themselves by uploading fresh, raw videos to sites in the internet particularly, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, among others.
They are branded as citizen journalists.
But are citizen-journalists really journalists?
Not so.
I went to Wikipedia and the concept of citizen-journalism is stated this way: Citizen journalism or street journalism is the concept of members of the public "playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information,"
Freelance writer Mark Glaser said of citizen journalism: “The idea behind citizen journalism is that people without professional journalism training can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact-check media on their own or in collaboration with others.”
Citizen journalism is not new.
Even the Negros Chronicle has very much welcomed citizen journalism.
We have continued to receive and published photo contributions by concerned readers of newsworthy events in sports, politics etc.
Before the internet, of course the polaroid, film-based photos were personally delivered.
Now, it is sent by email.
It’s the same thing.
In Iran, while there have been many videos capturing the events in that country, the mainstream journalists have to fact-check, verify these raw videos so that the most accurate presentation of the event is attained.
From my view, while citizen journalism is not mainstream journalism, nevertheless citizen journalism plays a vital role in the ensuring the free flow of thought and information.
To my mind, citizen journalism complements---not competes with--- mainstream journalism.

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