Citizen Journalism: The Powerful Pros and Potential Cons of a Crowd-Sourced News Era

by | Feb 3, 2023 | Dead Drop Dialect™ | 0 comments

Citizen journalism has surged in popularity as more individuals embrace the democratization of news reporting. Through leveraging the ubiquity of technology, citizen journalism has empowered individuals to share their unique perspectives, filling the void left by traditional media. However, alongside its many benefits, the rise of citizen journalism has also sparked debates around ethics, safety, and the spread of misinformation.

I have to preface the following article by explaining that as a “professional journalist” — whatever that is these days — I believe that the future of this industry relies on the decentralisation of stories to prevent power stagnation and narrative curation. We must mentor motivated citizen journalists and train them in the basic skills necessary to tell the stories that matter to their community.

Citizen journalism has emerged as a powerful force in the world of media and information dissemination. In recent years, the rise of citizen journalism has been driven by the increasing accessibility of technology and the growing discontent with legacy news sources. Citizen journalism allows individuals to share their own experiences and perspectives, filling a gap in the information landscape left by mainstream media. I believe that as a journalist you should be a conduit of information and minimise the figurative fingerprints we leave on a story. It is foolish to believe that anybody can be truly objective as we all have biases — many of which are unconscious. Objectivity in journalism should be an ideal we strive for while acknowledging that while we may get close to it, we will never truly achieve it.

While there are a plethora of benefits citizen journalism brings, there are some concerns that must be addressed. One major issue is the lack of training in ethical and safety practices, which can lead to the dissemination of false or misleading information, the violation of rights and laws, the potential to influence events, and the ultimate safety of the individual reporter. This lack of training can lead to questions about the validity of the information produced by citizen journalists.

The COVID-19 era has seen a significant rise in citizen journalism, with disillusioned individuals from a vast array of backgrounds taking it upon themselves to expose corruption within the government and push out stories related to vaccine injuries, the decimation of individual freedoms, and the dangers and impact of COVID-19 era policies. This has been a significant contribution to the world of journalism, as citizen journalists have been able to provide a decentralised and diverse perspective on important issues free from the shackles of corporate interests.

As independent journalists, it is our responsibility to carefully navigate the world of citizen journalism and not become seen as gatekeepers. We must also acknowledge the concerns raised by the lack of training and provide support and resources to those willing to learn. Providing training in ethical and safety practices can help to ensure that the information produced by citizen journalists is accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

The decentralisation of information is key to the future of journalism and ensuring its legitimacy. By empowering individuals to share the experiences and perspectives of their local community, we can build an intellectually richer media landscape which offers a much more nuanced and varied view of important topics. This is essential for the preservation of truth, reason, and intellectual autonomy.

There is no doubt that citizen journalism has its challenges, but it is an important and valuable aspect of the media landscape. It is up to all of us, as independent journalists and media consumers, to support and encourage citizen journalism, while also taking steps to ensure that it is done ethically and responsibly.

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