Citizen journalism

February 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

so i started looking more into the images submitted by camera phone users onto social media sites, citizen journalism has become a commenly used term when refuring to the images used off social media sites.

Citizen journalism (also known as “public”, “participatory”, “democratic”,[1] “guerrilla”[2] or “street journalism”[3]) is the concept of members of the public “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information.”[4] Citizen journalism should not be confused with community journalism or civic journalism, which are practiced by professional journalists, or collaborative journalism, which is practiced by professional and non-professional journalists working together. Citizen journalism is a specific form of citizen media as well as user generated content.

New media technology, such as social networking and media-sharing websites, and the increasing prevalence of cellular phones have made citizen journalism more accessible to people all over the world, who can often report breaking news much faster than traditional journalistic organs. Notable examples of citizen journalism being used to report major world events include the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement. At the same time, the unregulated nature of citizen journalism has drawn criticism from professional journalists for being too subjective, amateurish, and haphazard in quality and coverage.

– Taken from wikipedia

Professional journalists have called citizen journalism subjective and amaterurish, this is where and why i believe that professional photojournalism  will survive and will not be replaced, proffesionals know what is required of them and the images they produce, there is more to taking the photos to tell a story.


Citizen journalists may also be activists within the communities they write about. This has drawn some criticism from traditional media institutions such as The New York Times, which have accused proponents of public journalism of abandoning the traditional goal of ‘objectivity’. Many traditional journalists view citizen journalism with some skepticism, believing that only trained journalists can understand the exactitude and ethics involved in reporting news. See, e.g., Nicholas Lemann, Vincent Maher, and Tom Grubisich.

An academic paper by Vincent Maher, the head of the New Media Lab at Rhodes University, outlined several weaknesses in the claims made by citizen journalists, in terms of the “three deadly E’s”, referring to ethics, economics and epistemology. This paper has itself been criticized in the press and blogosphere.[24]

David Simon, a former Baltimore Sun reporter and writer/producer of the popular TV series, “The Wire,” criticized the concept of citizen journalism—claiming that unpaid bloggers who write as a hobby cannot replace trained, professional, seasoned journalists.

“I am offended to think that anyone, anywhere believes American institutions as insulated, self-preserving and self-justifying as police departments, school systems, legislatures and chief executives can be held to gathered facts by amateurs pursuing the task without compensation, training or for that matter, sufficient standing to make public officials even care to whom it is they are lying to.”
Again this touches upon the tools of the trade of professional photojournalism, maybe photojournalists don’t really need to change their business model too much, they have all these skill which make them stand above the citizen journalism, and this also makes me think of  the general purpose of the photos produces. The images created are used in newspapers and website and the whole point of reporting the news is it has to be truthful and creditable , so it is hugely important the images dont sway with a point of view or are non biased, trained professionals have learned to produce non biased images but citizen journalism comes from people who see something and react by taking a photo using a camera phone, because it is their personal reaction to something they are more likely have biased images, so alot of the time camera phone images can no be used.




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