Where citizen journalism has its’ many advantages and disadvantages I think the case studies show my hypothesis stands. it has had a gradual development over the decade, from a term barely known before the millennium to now when anybody can step up and report the news just by taking a picture on their phone, e.g.
“you have hundreds of ready citizens to report you not on daily but on hourly basis. This gives unique coverage, breaking news and headlines of most important events anywhere in the world. Without delays and waiting”
For many, they believe that 9/11 was the spark for citizen journalism, although this is not definitively proven a gradual change in the nature of the journalist has been seen with the impact of new technology. Demotix is a firm believer that citizen journalism has changed with technology, e,g.
“Phones have definitely changed everything, specifically smartphones and apps. This is something that has yet to really pick up, but it certainly will”.
This raises more questions that need to be answered such as will the citizen journalist and the professional be able to coexist? Citizen journalist group, NewsMeBack believes that they can and should with the professionals checking the CJ news and give their own thoughts to give better news coverage. However Michael Bromley is a bit sceptical and says
“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.”
UGC was initially a worry for newspapers but people are realising citizen journalism is not a threat but an aid, e.g.
“The press borrows or appropriates forms it believes will strengthen its product, attract an audience or allow it to compete with newer types of media already using the techniques”
Citizen journalism and professional journalism can work together, written with skill alongside a colour-adding opinion but one thing that we cannot be sure if the future. Citizen journalism group NewsMeBack believes there is a growth to CJ and a future,
“Professional journalists will just have to learn to accept and work together with citizen journalists because media is changing every day. And those changes are in favour of citizen journalism.”
Along with Demotix who believe that will actually save the media, e.g.
“Citizen journalism will not be the only way, but it will have a huge holding in the media. I think this is unstoppable. Citizen journalism can likely help save the media industry as well.”
Professional, Michael Bromley, agrees to an extent
“the core will survive indefinitely; the periphery (the modish) will not last long.”
One thing is certain is that we cannot be sure of the future. If the nature of the citizen journalist has changed in the past decade we do not know what the next decade will hold for journalism.
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.
To research into the change of citizen journalism I have carried out interviews with experts from both sides of the arguments so that I have the views and opinions of professional journalists as well as the views of citizen journalist groups to gain a multifaceted view of the issue.
As well as this I have conducted an analysis of five news events over the past decade as a form of case studies, and will be looking at the way citizen journalism was alive at the time and how it was used by the professionals and the citizen journalists. I will then be comparing and assessing how this form of journalism has developed as the years have gone by, developing from something that required a professional and knowledge to your everyday citizen being more newsworthy.
The case studies I will be looking at are as follows:
- (2001) 9/11 terrorist attacks
- (2005) London bombings
- (2010) Student protests
- (2011) London riots
- (2012) Hurricane Sandy