Citizen Journalism

by Hannah Klomp

Click image for photo source.

When evaluating citizen journalism and the implications that it has on the institutional news media, as well as on the perpetuation of information, I am reminded of Pierre Levy’s quote [stated below.] This quote conveys the concept of collective intelligence and the way that society has transformed into a participatory culture, where every person has the right and ability to be a ‘prosumer.’ It also conveys the idea that putting all the information that a person knows, with the information that another has, the content produced becomes more useful.

“No one knows everything, but everyone knows something”.

– Pierre Levy

In my previous blogs, I have reported on the ways that citizen journalism has evolved as well as the way that it has given access to those who were once ‘voiceless.’ Citizen journalism has been extremely useful in that the majority of footage and information is firsthand and in most cases unedited footage, where a person has been ‘at the right place, at the right time’ and this can be seen in this video here. This footage is also likely to have, if any, little bias which also contributes to the overall reliability of this footage.
There are many positive implications that citizen journalism has had on the institutional news media, as in many cases, footage and information that a citizen has found, whether it be a photograph, a video or even a blog entry, these mediums have been used by professional journalists to portray a more in-depth perspective to a story which they are reporting. This aspect of collective intelligence significantly conveys how citizen journalism and institutional media have used the information that they know, to create something more reliable, supporting Levy’s initial quote.
Another aspect of citizen journalism, which is also discussed by Henry Jenkins in this article, is that the two forms of the media are able to provide multiple perspectives of the one story, which then allows the story to become more compelling to each individual member of the audience. This aspect of citizen journalism also allows for the perpetuation of a news story to become more progressive. For example, if a formal news report does not appeal to them, a member of the audience is not limited to that one form, and is able to research it through other mediums and platforms that citizen journalism has allowed for.

Overall in critically reviewing this concept of citizen journalism, it is very important that society embraces their new roles, so that, as a result, this participatory culture can continue to be effective both within the audience’s own micro societies, as well as positively influencing the wider macro society as a whole.