What is citizen journalism?
Before understanding what citizen journalism is, it is necessary to reflect on the context that makes it possible.
Using YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social bookmarking sites – either by web or a smartphone – have provided end number of possibilities for users to express his or her ideas without any barriers. And one of the main consequences is the transfer of control of the publishing process from brands and companies to the own users on online environment.
So, citizens have been realizing that it is possible to express and share their own opinions and views while posting comments on blogs and websites, or tweeting, uploading pictures and videos. As long as with access to social media and online communications tools, its evident the facility to any citizen spread individual and collective opinions to the world throughout internet.
Then, citizen journalism can be described as the common citizens playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, airing, discussing and sharing contents, information and news happening around them or something which they experience or see.
Based on the principles of collective intelligence, user generated content, co creation and online social network, the citizen journalism permits any person to express his/her opinion, instead of be passive in front of opinions of a selected few as it’s common at most media houses.
Citizen journalism can be done in several ways, as the examples below:
- Commenting on sites, blogs and social media channels
- Sharing pictures and videos on issues you observe
- Sharing views and opinions on sites and social media channels about global and regional issues
- Writing to news sites promoting citizen journalism.
And as it happens on social online connections, citizen journalism works on a peer-to-peer way, which in any person can access contents, posted other common persons, instead of edited material aligned to news media houses business interests. Besides of it, online channels also make possible to edit, mix and recreate the contents to be shared again, that generates versions of a certain fact in the own user’s language.
As some advantages of the citizen journalism, it’s the possibility to capture contents (information, news or videos) when professional journalists and media houses don’t have any access to, as the possibility to spread and discuss topics ignored by mainstream press.