The concept behind citizen journalism is primarily based on the public citizens who take the duty of collecting, analyzing, reporting, and disseminating information and news. Just like the Global Voices, citizen journalism is a reporting system that operates outside mainstream media organizations. Citizen journalism covers a lot of information that are not included by the mainstream media. Despite the citizen journalism creating new opportunities, a majority of its contents clashes with those of the mainstream media, and this can be attributed to the lack of professionalism (Tufekci &Wilson, 2012). In many cases, the professional journalists are fond of accusing the citizen-generated news of not meeting the ethical standards as per required of a professional journalist. The individuals working for the citizen journalism are seen to have little of the media knowledge when it comes to balance, sensitivity, and privacy. An example can be given in the manner of individuals taking a picture, or a video, of a minister who goes to a nightclub to refresh, but when making news out of it, the story is aimed at shaming them. This example shows a citizen journalist with whom violates the privacy of the minister. Given this reality, claims against citizen journalism persons, from the concerned professional journalists, excel as they can publish anything that interests them, without looking into the ethical bit of the news (Tufekci &Wilson, 2012).
The growth and development of citizen journalism are as a result of network journalism and crowdsourcing (Tufekci &Wilson, 2012). Networked journalism makes it possible to record, distribute, and share a wealth of information in a quicker way. The presence of internet that allows communication and intelligence together with the availability of the networked journalism has completely made the idea of a journalist working alone, whether on the crime scene or in newsroom obsolete. Every journalist has become a node in the network functioning to gather, process, and distribute information. On the other hand, crowdsourcing moves beyond the typical citizen journalism as it extends to covering a variety of practices arrived at through collective intelligence to check and collect information, make choices, or tell stories in the production of news. Crowdsourcing allows for user-generated content, which includes textual comments, photographs, video, and other materials given to a news organization or website by members of the public. Despite the pieces of information requiring filtering, fact-checking, and more so, analysis and interpretation to create meaning, the citizen journal personnel’s are still capable of collecting the information which exponentially raises their ability to know different dimensions of a diversified reality with local specificity.
The internet and some digital networks also have a hand in the growth of citizen journalism. The webs and networks have transformed the news centers through telecommunication networks with wireless communication, permanent connectivity, and broadband capability. There is a continual flow of information that demands to be processed on the spot and requires a continued updating and rewriting of the story. All these developments, internet speed, crowdsourcing, and networked journalism, are contributing to the change in the practice of professional journalist thereby putting pressure on journalism schools. At the end of all these, citizen journalism is prompted to develop.
Survival of professional journalism largely depends on a genuine independence of the journalist. The new journalistic practices create a multiplicity of stories. Unlike in the tradition times, there is no more of imposing the official information to the exclusion of others. Reporting is clearly differentiated from propaganda, as the diversity of reporting in platforms and content exposes political manipulation or direct ideological.
Tufekci, Z., & Wilson, C. (2012). Social media and the decision to participate in political protest: Observations from Tahrir Square. Journal of Communication, 62(2), 363-379.