The Value of Citizen Journalism

This article by ABC News is an informative discussion about citizen journalism. While it is a topic usually talked about in regards to big events in far away places, such as the crisis in Syria and, although an older example, Hurricane Katrina, citizen journalism is alive and well among communities large and small across Australia as well as the world.

Like Josh Lynagh in the ABC article, local Facebook pages are often utilized to share news quickly among communities. From local events, traffic obstructions and police radar spots, citizen journalism is used to connect and inform people in specific geographic locations.

ABC itself often tweets asking for input in stories or asking for photos of weather events. In the case of a particularly spectacular sunset over the west coast credibility is not really an issue. However, when it comes to offering written or video documentation of big events, opinion and emotional engagement from being ‘close’ to the event can mean that the journalism presented is not ‘credible’ in the sense that it is not an objective account of events by someone who is trained in the field of journalism.

But does this it any less valuable? I think not. It is perhaps the difference between a primary source and a secondary source. Not exactly the same but the primary source (citizen journalism) is greatly influenced by their surroundings and offers different insights than someone who is separate from events.

Citizen journalism comes in many forms, this video is an example of a citizen journalist who found a way to empower herself through her journalism. This shows that citizen journalism has value, at the very least in helping people understanding their surroundings and finding their voice.

One thought on “The Value of Citizen Journalism

  1. Awesome post! I really like how you highlighted the importance of the emotional account of events often found within citizen journalism. Sure it may not have the same academic credibility as a professional writer, but we are all inherently emotional beings, and this can often give us as much – if not more – insight into certain events. Great video as well!

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