Your Role is Changing

by Hannah Klomp

JUST TO get you all in the mood, just have a quick look at this video here.

Every time I think of this week’s BCM112 lecture, I get this image in my head of Jim Carrey singing ‘I got the Power!” It is quite an interesting thought, but I do have the power, and nowadays really we all have the power because of the great phenomenon of the internet.

There has been a massive transformation and change recently in the roles that we, the audience has taken when using the internet because of the way that media has gone through convergence. Nowadays, we are able to have access to constant news updates, and are able to easily be a part of the World, Wide Web from really anywhere around the world. Nowadays, the internet has changed from a monological media platform, allowing participants to not only be consumers, but to become prosumers in this dialogic media era. This, therefore results in a participatory culture which has enabled information to broadcast through a many to many communication channel with either a weak gatekeeper or even no gatekeeper at all which has now lead to the idea of ‘Citizen Journalism.’

Have you heard of it? I’ve been doing some research since this week’s lecture, and I absolutely love what I’ve been finding. The first time I heard the words ‘citizen journalism’ was actually in my BCM110 lecture where a news report on the floods in Queensland, Australia was being conveyed here compared to a video which an individual citizen had taken on his mobile phone and posted it onto Youtube here. We evaluated it and concluded that both were actually quite reliable, and some stated that the citizen video may even be more reliable as it was a first hand encounter. Personally, in evaluating these videos, I think that citizen journalism is a very beneficial to both society and journalists as it gives a first hand and primary encounter which ultimately remains true, as well as reliable. I do also think that news reports do have an influence on the perpetuation of false information of certain events, as like we saw in the above videos, they are edited and specifically made to tell a story therefore, it has the ability to hide emotion and sometimes can be detrimental to a story.
In this week’s BCM112 reading found here and in this week’s lecture, the idea of citizen journalism was again discussed. This article talked about the influence that citizen journalism had on the information regarding events that became disclosed into the public sphere, and how mobile phones perpetuated the course of some events. This article specifically analyzed the influence mobile phones had on the events of SARS (2003), the Sumatra-Andaman Tsunami (2004) and the London bombings (2005). Overall, the conclusion was that the mobile phones of citizens within the private sphere could be beneficial in delivering messages about events and also may become the primary influence of news stories an articles although they are most likely to be edited in later stages by the public sphere. In evaluating this article, it can be concluded that society today has become a more active part not only within the private sphere of the media but also now into the public sphere, allowing them to become both ‘media users’ and ‘prosumers’ contributing more and more to the world in which they are a part.

I found the lecture and the set readings including the video by Clay Shirky (here) significantly interesting as I was able to relate to the idea that the role of the audience is changing. In my own life, my role certainly has changed and I have become a prosumer not only this blog, but through other media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. These platforms have allowed me to become a reporter about different issues, as well as broadcasting photography from aspects of my own life as well as in the society surrounding me, enabling me to be a part of citizen journalism. It is really amazing to see and be a witness to this transformation of the internet, and citizen’s contribution and connection to society as a whole.

I personally think that nowadays, there is a need for the audience to have more power, and I think it is very important for us, the audience to all use the power in which we have the ability to use. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are now pushing people to be a part of the public sphere, and for us not to grab onto this aspect firmly with both hands would be ridiculous. I am glad that the idea surrounding the prosumer is becoming more aware in society so that new perspectives, opinions and ideas can be conveyed in a more emotional and thorough way.

So really, let’s use this advantage we have, because after all, “We got the power!”

What do you guys think about the ‘prosumer’ and the idea of citizen journalism?

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