Citizen journalism is a necessity today

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy I did not have internet access, nor a TV, not a newspaper nor a radio.

So to catch up on what happened on those awful days for the Eastern Americans affected by the destructive natural disaster, I looked at citizen journalism.

“The idea behind citizen journalism is that people without professional journalism training can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact-check media on their own or in collaboration with others” (Media Shift- Mark Glaza).

I checked CNN ireport daily to catch up with videos, posts and pictures taken by actual ‘real’ people living in the disasters, not journalists but people posing as journalist type bodies, making others aware of what was going on in their area.

I looked at blog pictures in Tumblr and read some WordPress articles (links show actual sandy coverage) because I knew that’s where the most grass route level of reporting was- even more that the local newspapers as it was coming on a first person perspective.

I believe that citizen journalism is an important part of our news culture. It covers a type of news some journalists cannot and it is quick and fast – have you noticed most first pictures of disasters are taken by the citizens involved? Take 9/11 for example some the most original photographs were taken by citizen journalists and used by news companies.

Without people helping journalists do their work news would be impersonal and slow – all good news stories are things that people are affected by.

Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites have become the ‘first screen’ of news, all thanks to the people that upload videos, posts and pictures. For example I found out about Hurricane Sandy on Facebook first as a friend had posted that it was heading for New York faster than thought before.

Of course there is the debate of whether we can count on citizen journalists to give us the right information because they are untrained in the business, for some things yes the work is best left to the professionals, but for localized personal information you can always depend on citizen journalists to come up top trumps!

Click here for a fantastic article by The Telegraph on how to be a citizen journalist.



About hparr247

Glasgow Caledonian University journalism student who has studied at Stony Brook University in New York. Curious and amazed about the world, what it is up to, and its people.
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