Citizen Journalism: Filling the Void during a Journalism Crisis

Reading the news with a skeptical eye has become a common practice because people tend to question media credibility. There are always two sides to a story and different perspectives depending on the source. This is why citizen journalism, mainly focuses on people personally involved with an issue rather than an outsiders point of view.

Communities Dominate Brands is a book that describes the techniques of citizen journalism as four styles that appeal to there audience:  Citizen Journalism, Civic Journalism, Grassroots Journalism, and Participatory Journalism.

The article, Long-term unemployed aim to become a political force, from the LA Times, illustrates how an organization known as the 99ers uphold the four styles of citizen journalism. The 99ers started off as a support group for unemployed citizens that exhausted their 99 weeks of jobless benefits. According to the LA Times there are 4.5 million people involved in the 99ers battle in urging legislation to grant an extension of unemployment benefits, to those with expired benefits.

Members of the 99ers Union exemplify citizen journalism by encouraging the unemployed to become a national political force through the internet, actively lobbing, collaborating with 16 similar grass-root organizations to increase awareness, and participating in rallies across the nation.

Yet in an article from BBC (Public Service Broadcasting Organization) citizen journalism is described as a worldwide phenomenon that falls into democracy or chaos. In a world where anyone can become a reporter through social media and innovative technology, citizen journalists have to focus on accuracy in instead of sensationalism. Citizen journalism claims authenticity is the key to news yet without preparation chaos arises.

“Critics point to problems of fakery, manipulation, partisanship, bias, and lack of accountability (BBC).”

Although, countries deprived of free expression depend on citizen journalism as the voice of their people and not just to socialize. Their form of democracy is established through blogs and broadcastings that challenge authoritarian regimes and documents their struggle. This is why it is detrimental that  journalist organize a plan to extend democracy or citizen journalism will end in chaos.

In the mean time here is a video that provides tips on how to become an effective citizen journalist:

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