Journalism has always been evolving to adapt to current society. A new and upcoming way of producing news, known as citizen journalism, allows the average citizen to become reporters of current events. While this sounds like an awful direction for journalism to go, there are more pros than people think.
I often joke with my parents about not needing to read the newspaper when I can get all the news I need just by refreshing my Twitter app. With social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, becoming more popular it almost becomes too easy for anyone to report what’s happening in our world.
However, with this up-and-coming trend, how do we define a journalist? According to Merriam-Webster a journalist is “a writer who aims at a mass audience.” With that broad definition, does that make me a journalist for posting this blog? What about that guy in the office constantly tweeting about how much he hates his job or loves cats? Where do we draw the line on what constitutes as news or journalism?
The two biggest pros of having citizen journalism is how quick and convenient it is as well as getting a story from the perspective of the person who was there and experienced the event first-hand. While a trained journalist could interview the person and write a story on it, it’s not the same as hearing the story being told by an average person who went through a catastrophic event. Katie Couric produced a report where she shows the top five civilian videos that amateurs took and uploaded to the internet from a few years ago. The report shows us just how valuable this form of journalism can be when crises emerge, because we get to see an event through the eyes of someone who is experienced something instead of through a trained journalist getting who may not have gone through the same event.
So while this may seem like the wrong direction for journalism to go, it may not be all that bad.
– Caitlyn Duley