You know the moment where you think of a great new ice cream flavour and want to copyright that A.S.A.P? Well the big news corporations wish to do that when a big story break. But then some random comes along and films it and puts in online. Breaking news gone. Thanks Twitter.
Welcome to citizen journalism and how it’s ‘killing’ good old fashioned journalism. Gatekeepers are in crisis, there is now no one to regulate what goes into the atmosphere of information. That raises the issue of how accurate the information is from a bystander on the street. People have always bought newspapers because the news is conveniently and accessible in one spot and they are trusted and have been the only way to get information. Newspapers were also the only way for advertisers to reach large audiences, so advertisers were willing to pay whatever was asked to reach an audience for their products. Therefore newspapers throughout human history have been the only ‘real’ source of information.
Citizen journalism has now cancelled all of the above points. We all have that on person on our Facebook or Twitter feed that points ridlicious amounts about nothing really.
If by some small chance they manage to post something that is considered ‘news’ then they are a citizen journalist. It’s that easy and that is why citizen journalists are hated. While doing a Bachelor of Communications and Media with people in my course wanting to major in Journalism, being told that journalism in a traditional sense is dying and that someone who didn’t go to university can have the same impact as us is a little disheartening. Also the ability that people can post whatever they want can mean racist, homophobic, ageist or crude content is put out there. And those ‘news’ items are helping no one.
The internet is the new medium allowing to convey the new news, it easily matches the intense demand. For traditional news sources to remain they have to stop the audience form publishing the news. This is basically impossible, but Rupert Murdoch is trying to do just that. This is having some effect with him making online access to his newspapers by payment and subscription only.
For all the negatives surrounding citizen journalism, there are some positives. Big news outlets are often regulated and controlled with a certain direction or angle that their news is focused on, but citizen journalism allows none of that to happen. Take Julian Assange the founder of Wikilinks. The biggest controversy of freedom of information, making the American Government and military blush like teacher realising their fly is down. But people were given real, unfiltered information.
Citizen journalism may be killing out how we have always gotten information, but it allows people to gather a variety of facts from all over the world, it expands peoples minds and allows us to choose what we believe to be news instead of being told ‘Good evening, this is the news for today’.