What we consider as journalism is currently in a state of convergence. The history of journalism is constantly adapting and shaping to new communication technologies. However, in the past few years an internet phenomena has occurred where everyday citizens are reporting their own news. This is addressed by Brian Conley in the Ted Talk below:
As Conley states, the emergence of the internet and Web 2.0 worldwide has essentially “leveled the playing field” (Conley 2013). Now sites such as Twitter and YouTube offer citizen journalists a platform to aggregate, participate and publish. With such sites, now all a citizen needs to become a journalist is a story and a camera.
But how do citizen journalists differentiate with regular, plain-clothed journalists? There are many concerns regarding citizen journalism, the main issue being credibility. As Morley Safer stated, “I would trust citizen journalism as much as I would trust citizen surgery,” (Krinsky 2009). Issues regarding credibility isn’t new to the public, considering how the News of the World Phone Hacking Scandal impacted on Murdoch media. Rather, the arguments regarding credibility, publishing and immediacy are all blurring as citizen journalism and traditional journalism are shaped and interchanged. As addressed in the Economist, citizen journalists, and in particular foreign correspondents, are pairing up with news branches by selling or providing their stories, photographs and videos (2013). One such example is the Boston Globe during the Boston bombings of April last year. The Boston Globe used tweets and photographs from local tweeters to report on the event as it happened.
Throughout the day, citizens would communicate with reporters of the Globe through twitter to report current news. This level of immediacy is historically unheard of. Due to the efforts of the Boston globe and citizen journalists, hundreds of thousands of people were provided updates live from the scene (Twitter Media 2014).
So where does this leave the future of journalism? Although citizen journalism may be a groundbreaking source for information, many people are still looking towards news corporations for their source of news. Therefore, if the two work together (as many currently are), our news will not only be even more immediate, but perhaps more authentic too.
Conley, B 2012, Citizen Journalism is Reshaping the World: Brian Conley at TEDxMidAtlantic, Tedx Talks, 17 December, viewed 20 September 2014, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kY-l9UQpf0Y>.
Economist 2013, ‘Foreign Correspondents; Citizen Journalism’, The Economist, vol. 407, no. 8838, p. 62.
Krinsky, A 2009, ‘Morley Safer: “I Would Trust Citizen Journalism As Much As I Would Trust Citizen Surgery’, TV Newser, 21 May, viewed 20 September 2014, <http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/morley-safer-i-would-trust-citizen-journalism-as-much-as-i-would-trust-citizen-surgery_b28441>.
Twitter Media, 2014, ‘The Boston Globe uses Twitter during a crisis’, Twitter Media, viewed 21 September, <https://media.twitter.com/success/bostonglobe-uses-twitter-to-source-news-and-keep-the-public-informed-during-the-boston>.