Sunday, March 3, 2013

Are you a Pro Citizen Journalism?

As I was reading the blog post of MJ, it makes me think about why or why not citizen journalism it is helpful? From what I read in her blog post she is kind of skeptical about trusting the sources and knowing where she can find accurate information. I would like to present here two contrasting opinions. First, some people who thinks citizen journalism is not helpful and then I am attaching an interesting Ted Talk that I found about the subject which is more Pro-citizen journalism
            People who argue against citizen journalism mention that just taking a picture of an event with your phone is not journalism. Moreover, you can’t give that much credibility to someone who can’t give a proper structure or use correct grammar when writing a news story. I found an article with this interesting thought about why not trust in citizen journalism:
"News journalism requires a level of commitment that only the hardcore amateur news junky could muster. Taking a picture of an event you happen to be close to is not journalism. Let’s face it: new forms of independent journalism have and will continue to appear, but don’t expect a flurry of well-written and accurate on-the-scene reports from the public at large any time soon. Weblogs and flickr can complement traditional journalism, but they can’t supplant it." (Mc Intosh, 2005)
            After reading this I think… what about photojournalism? Does not “a picture worth thousand words”? It is the form more important than the content?
            On the other hand, if you have patience and time to see this Ted Talk, it is interesting to watch how a British journalist named Paul Lewis describes how citizen journalism and more specifically how social media helped to solve 2 mysterious and controversial murders. 

          This talk just made me think about what are the limits of journalists regarding some murder investigation? Is that being a journalist or a detective? In addition how do you actually make people want to participate, get involved and tell you things that might compromise them as we saw in the cases presented? The good thing about these 2 cases exposed in the talk is that if it wasn’t for the journalist who dig in the cases and the people who collaborated through the social media, the audience would just get a partial picture of what happened. On the other hand, there is an issue about if all the newspapers and media companies would be interested in digging more in those kinds of issues. Usually, media companies are constrained by the government or other interests so they don’t want to get involved in some issues that might affect them.
            I would appreciate to hear if you are a Pro-Citizen Journalism or not and why?

McIntosh, N. (2005, July 25). Let’s forget about citizen journalism. In Retrieved March 3, 2013, from


  1. Maria - you bring up some good points. I think the whole debate of cell phone pictures being newsworthy is a "take it for what it's worth" Of course it's not the high quality of National Geographic work or even high quality enough to be printed in the paper but on the flip side, citizens capture more unexpected, real-life events today that professional journalists would never make it to or be able to plan. Examples would be when the airplane landed on the Hudson river, there were numerous people who captured this event from the river and inside the airplane on their phones that gave a first hand experience. Also, 9/11 - sure photographers made it there eventually but there's actual footage from a citizen who happened to be filming the skyline when the first plane crashed. It's pretty blurred and not focused but it's more "real" and carries an "aura" that no professional journalism was able to capture.

  2. Jenn, thanks for your comments and sorry for the late reply. Definitely, I like of those examples of successful or helpful citizen journalism acts. In some way, I also agree with MJ when she said in the last class that she trusts more in professional journalism. There are definitely skills like experience or acknowledgment that are very valuable and that can't be compared with the contribution of an inexpert person. I'm kind of divided in my opinion about this matter. Thanks again for your contribution to the post :)