According to Carole Rich (2010), citizen journalism involves having the readers disseminate news using any online platforms such as blogs that do not belong to any of the media organizations. In the past, news organizations used to control the news and embraced the top-down model; however, in today’s society, citizens now take the media organizations’ place to report news.
Toffle (1980) stated that citizens are now seen as prosumer = product + consumer. Citizen journalism also allows people to report news on a first-person account and also permitting the readers to view the world through the reporter’s eyes. Likewise, Allan and Thorson (2009) said that citizen journalism is the acknowledgement that journalists and the citizens are one and the same person, sharing the same identity.
However, as Sterling (2009) has mentioned, citizen journalism has blurred the lines of facts and opinions and tend to move towards the presence of opinions. Another downside to citizen journalism is the credibility of the writer. Because the blog is not monitored or edited and does not have to meet the required standards of those on mainstream journalism, their credibility and reliability are often questioned (Rich, 2010).
Websites such as STOMP (The Straits Time Online Mobile Print) is one such example that encourages citizen journalism. The objective is to allow the dissemination of the news to be faster for the public. Because of the rise of technology, people are able to use their mobile phones such as the iPhone/Samsung to capture a particular scene on the spot and publish to STOMP. Similarly, any other breaking news would first be captured by citizens who happen to be at the scene itself and thus, they would be able to provide as much information as possible.
However the ironic issue is due to the easy accessibility of technology, credibility in this case is questioned – because anyone with a camera will be able to publish an article to STOMP. Even though there are the flaws, the public is still attracted to citizen journalism because of the ‘immediacy of the information delivered’ (Lagerkvist, 2010, p.118).
Allan, S., & Thorson, E. (2009) Citizen Journalism: global perspectives, New York: Peter Lang.
LAGERKVIST, J. (2010). After the internet, before democracy : competing norms in Chinese media and society, Bern; New York, Peter Lang.
RICH, C. (2010). Writing and reporting news : a coaching method, Boston, MA, Wadsworth.
STERLING, C. H. (2009). Encyclopedia of journalism, Thousand Oaks, Calif., SAGE Publication
Toffler, A. (1980). The Third Wave. Bantam Book