In this week’s readings, Peter Dahlgren introduces the new age of citizen journalism by discussing the ability of those who are not journalists to utilize platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs to share material, resulting in journalism developing into a more interactive endeavor. Dahlgren suggests that “such civic participation is altering the character of journalism”, and I would most definitely agree. Social media has presented opportunities for myself to get involved in these journalistic endeavors through Facebook, Twitter, and some other new methods introduced through this course: blogging, podcasting, and now, Storify. Although this course has allowed me to discover and utilize my own online voice and persona, I still typically remain a consumer of this media. Facebook is still primarily for checking up on what my friends are up to, and I’ve only sent one tweet on my Twitter account (that number was zero at the beginning of this course, so, baby steps). Still, because I follow various news outlets and personalities on Twitter, it remains a valuable tool for me to obtain news, information and perspectives on current topics. In addition, Twitter presents the unique opportunity to communicate with celebrities and personalities and collaborate with them to produce a new tool to delivery information.
However, Bruns and Highfeld point out that the emergence of citizen journalism goes beyond everyday people re-posting the news of others, but also allows amateur journalists to be first-on-the-scene and deliver breaking, first-hand news stories (Bruns & Highfield, 2012). An example of this was as recently as this past weekend, when an airplane crashed while attempting to land in San Francisco. Immediately video and eye-witness reports were available, but not recorded by CNN or NBC, but by everyday people recording the crash on their cell-phones, and uploading the videos to YouTube or other websites.
Certainly, the growth of citizen journalism presents a number of question marks, similar to those presented in discussion of Wikipedia, mainly the credibility of the source, and the accuracy of reporting, giving the opportunity for relative anonymity.
Dahlgren, P. (2012). Reinventing participation: civic agency and the web environment. Geopolitics, History, and International Relations. 4.2, p27.
Bruns, A. & T. Highfield. (2012). Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news: The produsage of citizen journalism. pre-publication draft on personal site [Snurb.info]. Published in: Lind, R. A. ed. (2012). Produsing Theory in a Digital World: The Intersection of Audiences and Production. New York: Peter Lang. p15-32.