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"Citizen Journalism"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by tapintoamerica, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    Note the use of quote marks. This is the newest oxymoron in our culture.
    What I find disturbing is the number of real journalists who are so fascinated by this concept that they give it a hint of legitmacy. Why should anybody with a job in this business be aiding and abetting the enemy? Would the UAW endorse technological advancements that would ultimately render its members unemployed?
  2. Do you mean blogs?

    Our paper trumpets the local blogs on our website. Gets the website major hits. Most of them aren't producing news, just commenting on it. Don't see the big deal.
  3. Dyno

    Dyno Well-Known Member

    I first started to notice the term during the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. CNN was urging its viewers to send in their photos, eyewitness accounts, etc. to CNN.com and become "citizen journalists." I'm not a journalist and hated the term immediately. I still do.
  4. Walter Burns

    Walter Burns Member

    Don't tell me...you work for a Gannett paper, right? I do, and our EE liked to throw the term around a LOT.
    Theoretically, it encourages community involvement by allowing them to send us their news.
    Theoretically, socialism works too.
    In practice, it's just an excuse for the powers that be (and it's typically not the real journalists who think this is a good idea; it's the beancounters at the top or the people determined to take the path of least resistance) to get content without paying for it.
  5. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    No, I don't work for Gannett, but I do agree with Walter Burns.
  6. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    "citizen journalism" is so 2006.

    now it's "user generated content."

    next year, "google implants."
  7. writing irish

    writing irish Active Member

    Post of the evening.
  8. Diabeetus

    Diabeetus Active Member

    If outlets are smart, they'll use it to supplement their coverage and create better and a more in-depth product. I doubt most would use it in that manner, though, so...
  9. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    has anybody ever read "citizen journalism?"
    There's a reason we go to school to train for this stuff.
  10. This is utterly nonsensical. "The enemy," in your opinion, is...the guy with a cell-phone camera who films a police beating while walking his dog? That guy is the "citizen journalist" to which CNN, however clumsily, refers. How, in your opinion, is the use of his footage illegitimate? Why should we not encourage non-reporters to send us stuff?

    I do think CNN makes too much of its "citizen journalists" - their relentless hype of that Barghouti kid who shot grainy, unhelpful footage of a SWAT team doing not-so-much during the Virginia Tech massacre was ridiculous. But as long as we don't talk about "citizen journalism" as some sort of coming revolution, what is your substantive problem with it?
  11. Oh. I guess you could've meant blogs as well. Still: don't toss out the baby with the bathwater. During Bush's Social Security privatization initiative, Josh Marshall of talkingpointsmemo.com got his readers to find out the stances of every (if I remember correctly) senator and representative. What's wrong with that? During the peak of the Gonzales mess, dozens of his readers - many of them highly educated lawyers, professors, etc. etc. - divided up a giant Department of Justice "document dump" so as to be able to thoroughly comb through it in more than, like, a week. I don't remember if they found anything; if they did, of course, the "real journalist," Marshall, would have to corroborate it himself. But what's illegitimate about his use of reader-experts to seek out legitimate news stories? Provided that the real journalists provide proper oversight of their readers' efforts, I don't see the issue.

    Finally: you mentioned the UAW. I look at this from a validity/legitimacy/reader-benefit perspective, not from a will-this-cost-us-jobs perspective. I don't think reporters should decide whether to treat any social phenomenon as legitimate or illegitimate based on the phenomenon's potential impact on reporters.
  12. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    My problem is more with newspapers seeking out private citizen to do our work than it is with bloggers or cell-phone photographers.
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