Citizen journalism is usually found online. The continuously evolving nature of the internet has allowed for the emergence of new communication channels – blogs, podcast videos and social media.
Almost everyone today is online and almost everyone has a smart phone on them at all times. This ease in which we access to technology and means of communication allows the ability to spread information at any given time, thus the creation of citizen journalism.
Put simply, citizen journalism is when private individuals do essentially what professional reporters do – report information. The phenomenon has allowed the audience to become the producer, giving the public control over media and information. citizen journalism poses many pros and cons including:
- They themselves are not influenced by anyone
- Helps cover news that may have been missed
- Creates a more participatory environment, whereby the audience can become more involved in the issues.
- Helps get people engaged and interested in current issues, this in turn influences activism
- Allows people to share different opinions or angles of a story, providing us more coverage
- They have no professional training or experience in the field; this can impact on the quality of information gathered.
- Citizen journalists may lack professional legitimacy paid journalists have
- could create panic through sharing false info
- publishers of the information could be bias and have their own agenda
All in all journalism of this kind should not pose a threat if done properly without bias. It also allows the public to keep a watchful eye on organisations, journalists and entities that may go against what may be considered wrong in the public eye. Having watchdogs or gatekeepers means that others are under more pressure to ensure their information is correct, unbiased and released quickly.