Citizen Journalists: Journalism by the People

A citizen journalist or a public journalist is an ordinary person, someone who is not a professional journalist, reporting news.

Citizen journalism is a recent trend due to technological advances and social media.

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Can citizen journalism co-exist peacefully with traditional news sources?

Leonard Witt, chair in communication at Kennesaw State University, disagrees.

“Today anyone with access to a computer can have the equivalent of a printing press.”

Citizen journalists are not professional journalists. Although they may act and think like professional journalists: there is something to be said for traditional journalists.

Traditional journalists strive to obtain objectivity; independence of faction, and accuracy verification says Tim Harrower of Inside Reporting.

According to a study done at Michigan State University citizen journalism is not a threat to daily newspapers and the professional news industry. Even if a citizen journalist does have daily postings, they tend to not contain a significant amount of news elements.

However a citizen journalist can provide free content and alert the media when professional journalists are unavailable or unaware of breaking news. Reporters are unable to be in two places at once, citizen journalists can help in that aspect.

We are in the midst of the evolution of journalism. Where it will take us is unclear but one thing is for certain. Journalism is for and by the public more today then ever.

Today the average person can quite literally adopt the First Amendment “freedom of the press” by distributing news worldwide.

— Clair Casey

Image courtesy of Robert Eisenhart

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