In today’s society, we seem to not think twice before we post online. Some of us do, most of us say we do then forget this when the moment arrives using the logic that it can just be deleted later on. That’s just it, what you put online is online. End of story. But, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about how everyone wants to take part in sharing their daily lives or breaking news with the world. Everyone wants to grab ahold of the action.
For example, in a world in which pretty much everything is digital it is no wonder that people hold most things as personal parts of everyday life. From updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram it is no wonder that people feel connected on such a personal level to their friends and comrades. When there is a storm or shooting, people want to grab ahold of it. They want to tell their version of the story, further letting people become more personal with one another online in order to tell a story or share an idea. Take the CNN ireport, which is fueled by the idea of citizen news and active participation in events. This lets everyone take part in the news and being a part of the media story. But, does everyone want this? Some people may not like the idea that their story is going to be edited heavily thereby taking away their viewpoint. Of course, that is not everyone. The point is that the stories of events are told in a manner meant to evoke a certain emotion and citizen reporting helps this facet of a news report. Everything is meant to come together in a timely fashion so that it all makes sense when put on the air or placed in a news article. Who does not want to be a part of creating lasting change? Creating the news is easy, it is telling it that is changing.
That first sentence was not a pointless fact, it is common sense. It applies to most practices done online as well. Don’t be careless, send in what you think will be relevant and substantial content. Reporters work to gather sources and if they are at their last source and turn to a citizen for information (that’s you!), then know that you should not make up stories to simply be in the news. All the news stories will come together, but if a story is important enough then more outside sources from regular people may be included. Don’t be scared, this is your chance!
Alright, enough on this topic. Here are some links to pages and articles related to this topic. Everyone should be informed before deciding to contribute or what type of message to send out.
Nieman Reports- Citizen Journalism and the BBC
Citizen Journalism & Democracy: How User-Generated News Use Relates to Political Knowledge and Participation (abstract)
Forums for citizen journalists? Adoption of user generated content initiatives by online news media (abstract)
Good article on journalistic ethics, important for citizen journalists/reporters to keep in mind