Email interview with Professor of Journalism, Michael Bromley
Do you consider citizen journalism a gift or menace to news reporters?
I don’t think it is either. it can assist reporters by providing additional information, perspective; and it can hinder by being misleading or inaccurate.
When do you believe the phrase ‘citizen journalist’ became common?
Probably with the emergence of ohmynews – sometime soon after 2000
Do you believe that the nature of the citizen journalist has changed in the past decade? (e.g. now anybody with a phone can be a journalist).
No. fundamentally, citizen journalism is the same as it was. what has changed is the scope of various allied practices, such as user-generated content (which is not synonymous with citizen journalism).
What do you consider to be the pros and cons of citizen journalists?
Pros = multiplicity of voices; multi-perspectival; expansion of the public sphere; a counter to corporate media dominance. cons = lack of definition (anything counts).
Do you think there are any economical implications for working news reporters that cause them to rely on citizen journalists?
The economic constraints on reporters were evident long before cj appeared. indeed, it could be argued that the gross deficiencies in reporting which built up from the 1980s gave rise to cj because vast areas of human activity were simply not being reported either adequatetly or at all.
Do you believe a relationship between the ‘professional’ and the citizen journalist could be successfully operated?
Interesting question, and one which is asked in many occupations. how is the relationship between the professional and the amateur managed in the military, in health services, in the emergency services, etc.? the way journalists talk about cjs you wouldn’t think that 70 per cent of fire fighters in the us are citizen amateurs, or that the invasion and occupation of iraq was undertaken primarily by citizen soldiers in the national guard. this is something the british army is now going to have to deal with.
What do you predict for the future of citizen journalism?
The core will survive indefinitely; the periphery (the modish) will not last long.