There is boundless potential and possibility for citizen journalism in today’s media sphere. With smartphones, youtube, blogs and social media, to name a few- the potential for amateur reporters to publish their stories is greater than ever before.
News outlets and particularly current affairs programs are gaining much benefit from citizen journalism- they are able to get access to a wider scope of material for stories while cutting the corners of actually producing the work themselves. As Kate Bulkley reports for The Guardian– In the digital era of communication, the value and authenticity between professional news stories and amateur videos filmed on a mobile phone is becoming harder to judge. Some journalists may find citizen reporting a threat to their profession.
Citizen journalism has the potential to deliver stories from events and places that professional journalists may not be able to access, such as citizens in a war zone in Syria. The public can receive up-to the minute reporting from events such as political protests. The phenomenon is radicalising journalism because there is no filter as to what can be published on the Internet. Citizen journalism opens a door for raw and gritty stories as well as light ‘puff’ pieces- the possibilities really are endless.
The possibility for instant publication of events and stories may have its downfalls. Privacy can easily be breached and false information can very easily be spread into the public domain. Citizen journalism has the potential to cause harm to individuals as well as the potential to give the public greater access to current affairs.
Journalism in the 21st Century is evolving faster than any other time before. With the rise of Smartphones and social media, the era of citizen journalism and User Generated Content (UGC) is changing the traditional concepts and ideals of Journalism.
MOJO– meaning Mobile Journalism, is a fairly recent phenomenon and a powerful new tool in the media game. With literally billions of people using mobile phones, anyone can record and create a news story that is readily accessible to the online audience. This may also pose ethical and legal issues because these stories havn’t been run through a professional editor.
Journalists need to take a neo-journalist approach and be equipped and ready to capture, edit and produce any breaking news story, using their Smartphone. MOJO’s can also incorporate multimedia elements such as videos, graphics, audio and links, into the story.
The quality of journalism may be questioned due to such a fast turn around of stories. As Ivo and Burum discuss in MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook, by the time the journalists realise an error, the story is already lost in the abyss of the web. Therefore the potential for legal issues may arise- such as defamation or false information.
Despite the potential negatives, MOJO is playing a crucial role in 21st Century Journalism- it is allowing multi-planar storytelling to be produced and accessible faster than ever.
The digital media evolution is a rapidly growing industry and the future for print newspapers is looking pretty grim. As people are turning to smartphones, tablets and computers to get their daily news fix, the once prestigious print medium is looking to become redundant in the not too distant future.
The closure of the print version of the UK’s Independent in March of this year, a newspaper regarded as “journalism of the highest quality standard,” sets the tone for what is to come.
As David Hayes states: “Losing the Independent is a major event: a setback for democracy as well as journalism.” This statement suggests that the autonomy and freedom of journalists may be affected with the move to digital, as big corporations have more control over online business.
Though London based journalist, Brian Cathcart says: “This is the death of a redundant medium and not of a message” regarding the ceasing of print for the Independent.
Some may argue that the move to digital can create more dynamic and comprehensive journalism, possibly enhancing the news reading experience with the use of multimedia.
The obvious reason that print newspapers may become redundant is the lack of capitol to keep them running. It is far cheaper to publish online news than print tangible papers.
The younger generations who have grown up in the digital era have not been accustomed to buying newspapers; I believe this hints at a definite future without print news.
With an ever increasingly competitive market, tighter budgets for news publications and the convenience of mobile technology, I predict the future of print media will not outlast generation Y.
The ramifications of losing newspapers are not yet fully known, though David Hayes states: “What is certain is that a future without newspapers would be a future without democracy.”