Posts Tagged: citizen journalism

Posts Tagged ‘citizen journalism’

Oct 29 2010

Response (Citizen Journalism/Politics)

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1.) To combat this kind of elitist “aristocracy” of users, will there be an increase in Digg-like sites that cater to other diverse audiences? Will there ever be a site an aggregate news site that truly fulfills Digg’s promise of a “democratic” news source?

Just doing a quick search, I noticed that there were “Digg-like” sites catered to such audiences as bloggers, web developers, and designers. There are also sites like Stumbleupon, Reddit, and Fark which compete against Digg to act as aggregate news sites. I noticed that these sites also skew towards a similar flavor of posts as Digg does. There are a lot of news articles about technology, gaming, and web trends. One site that sticks out to me though is Stumbleupon which allows users to create a profile and tell the site what their interests are. Categories range from sports to art to gaming to politics. The site then presents random pages that fit the user’s criteria. Although I don’t see a lot of other sites doing this (especially news sites) I do think that the idea of users choosing their own news stories will continue to grow.

We talked in class about the idea of a “Daily Me” or a news site that presents a customized newspaper catered to specific user tastes. So one can imagine, in the near future, waking up in the morning, firing up the iPad, reading the news, and it presents all stories that YOU would be interested in). This sounds appealing to many users but is this really the direction that we should be heading in?

User control seems better than an elite group of gatekeepers on sites like Digg or news editors on big news sites, but are people going to be truly informed if they are only receiving news that they want to read and ignoring the rest? It could be argued that this is similar to traditional newspapers and people just taking out the sports section or life section. I just feel more uncomfortable with people creating their own news sources.

2.) It is inevitable that other future political candidates will  utilize social media in their campaigns but how will it be different from the election in 2008? The Web 2.0 world moves at a rapid pace so what new social media outlets will be utilized? And how else can candidates leverage the tools of interactivity to win elections?

Obama did an excellent job leveraging social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to help him in his campaign. I definitely see many politicians following suit. I am curious to see if politicians utilize other experimental social media tools such as location-based services, like Foursquare. I could visualize some really interesting uses for such applications. I could see users winning custom badges/stamps by attending rallies and speeches. I could also see politicians rewarding people who check-in at their events with exclusive announcements or campaign swag on the site.

I think that whatever new applications come out, politicians should not be afraid to take some risks and try new things. The younger voter power cannot be ignored and trying new techniques online can bring about big rewards in the long run.

Oct 27 2010

Who watches the Watchdogs?

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For this week’s readings, the focus was the on the empowering of citizen’s as journalists and its effects. More specifically, the readings looked at what affects the empowerment of citizen journalism has, can, and may have on politics.

My first question of the week asked if the empowering of citizen journalist meant a draining of power from government institutions. Based on the readings for this week and our class discussions, I would say that if anything there has been a breaking of control that governments and their officials have on what information they want to get out into the public sphere. Some examples from class include the Republican National Convention’s attempt to make a site similar to and the story from Here Comes Everybody regarding the senator who expressed racist views at the birthday party of another political official.

In addition to these examples are the various news stories and youtube videos about politicians ranging from the extra audio from President Bush and Senator Kerry when they forgot their mikes were still attached to the Tea Party’s candidate Christine O’Donnell appearances on various MTV interviews. All of these examples illustrate the loosening of content control and the resulting possibilities to increase watchdog efforts on not only politicians, but on anyone involved with some form of publicity. The Brett Favre scandal comes to mind.

Unfortunately, and this is probably because this is a relatively new movement, what I have yet to see regarding the growth of citizen journalism and watchdoging is a power to help keep them in check. I have not heard of any group forming to act as a counter balance. Initially, it could be argued, the government was a counterbalance to citizen journalists since not all citizen journalists have the best intentions. However, with the drop in control the government has over certain areas I could see there being an imbalance at least temporarily. I suppose there is always crowdsourcing to make sure the facts are kept straight. There are numerous examples of it working across the internet so it is a matter of watching how crowdsourcing works in this context.

My final question for this week was related to the Shadow Government experiment in Iceland and how it might be replicated in a large country. Taking into account all of the articles this week, it looks like the Icelandic government is willingly giving power to the people; allowing them more direct input into new policies. I do not know enough about this and it is still too new to see how this will turn out. Also, presuming that it does work would it be possible to use a similar system in a country like the United States? A factor that I see being looked over by some people when they talk about using methods in other countries is how that country meshes. For example, the Scandinavian countries are relatively homoginistic culturally than say the United States. This can have a huge affect on how policies are received by a nation’s population. Either way, I am excited to see how this experiment plays out over the next few years. There is definitely potential in how they are using the increased connectedness of people.

Oct 27 2010

Response – Post 8

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This week one of my questions addressed the idea of citizen journalists as concept creators and the idea of re-telling/re-crafting stories versus simply disclosing them. If we accept the fact that citizens can in fact be news creators and distributors, then do we hold them to the same standards as professionally trained and employed journalists?

After this week’s discussions, I feel like citizen journalism is a force to be reckoned with and that traditional media is going to have to start accepting this new format of news and distribution. With technological innovations influencing the news industry, we’re continuing to see a change in the gatekeeping processes. No longer does news stream through professionally recognized outlets, but it now flows through informal channels and websites and is reaching mainstream audiences.

With this current news flow, I think it’s only fair that we begin to hold citizen journalists to the same standards of credibility and accuracy as traditional news media. If citizens can shoot and edit footage, write an article or find other ways to distribute news to the general public, than there should be a place for them to look up how to accurately write a news story online as well. Simple research will show citizen journalists how to put a good story/package together for the public. If citizens are indeed going to call themselves journalists than they MUST adhere to the same standards and practices that professionally trained reporters do, otherwise they are just misleading the public and losing individual credibility.

Oct 26 2010

Citizen v. Professional

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It’s an ongoing battle between citizen journalists and professional journalists.

The definition of a citizen journalist from Goode’s article is essentially the same as a professional journalist. Both know how to blog, gather news, both share video and photos, and modify and monitor other news sources. What’s the big difference? According to citizens, nothing. Ask a professional, and it’s the fact that they have training, a degree, and a respect for the profession.

There’s definitely a rift between citizens and professionals. However, with the popularity and convenience of citizen journalism, it’s becoming harder for professional journalists to shut them out of the ranks. Citizens journalists are key in gathering news information. Think of the potential.

If a downtown shooting occurs, a brave citizen with a video phone can capture the footage right then and there, and  if they have 3G network or instant Internet access, the video can be on the web and accessible to millions in seconds. A news team has to be notified of the event (most likely by the citizen) gather the equipment and travel to the shooting to gather information. By that time, the event is over, the action is gone. The  news team has to get the footage from the citizen.

It’s not fun for the professional. Especially when the professional has worked for years in the field, has a degree, and professional training, only to be usurped by an ordinary citizen with a camera phone.


While professional journalists aren’t loving citizen journalists, politician’s don’t seem to mind them. In fact, coupled with social media, citizens journalists are a helpful tool for politics. Think of how Obama used social media in the last campaign. He set the precedent for future campaigns, so now every politician is going to have to employ social media. If people are posting videos and photos, and information, as long as it’s positive for their image, politicians are going to accept it.

However, there’s still an editing process that has to take place. Online editors are going to have a much harder time filtering through information simply because there’s more input from citizen journalists. Should editors then be traditional journalists or citizens?

The truth of it is, journalists don’t need a degree. We might hate it, but we don’t need one. If someone can do what we do without a degree, we might resent them for it, but we can’t hold onto that forever. As long as an editor has the ability to clearly look at material and decide what is newsworthy or not, and edit material correctly and fairly, then they’re in a good place. Throw some field experience in and it’s even better.

There’s no way to avoid the merging of citizens and journalists. I think journalists will always be labeled as journalists, and that tradition will hold sway over audiences, but citizens are also gathering news. They’ve got a long way to go before they become as credible as traditional journalists.

Oct 25 2010

Framing Week 9

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1. How does the agenda setting theory fit into citizen journalism and social news media?
2. Are citizen journalist websites here to stay or could they been seen as merely a fad because they have no actual original content, just the reproduction of other websites?
3. Where is the line between citizen journalism and professional journalism? How can readers tell if the website they are looking at is professional or citizen?

Oct 25 2010

Framing Week 8

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1. Does citizen journalism make American numb to hard facts? Do we question the validity of the news more than we used to?

2. What role will social media and new media play in upcoming elections? Will a “people’s president” be elected because of the ease of access to them?

3. Is this new wave of social change going to impact how decisions are made in the media in the future?

Oct 24 2010

Citizen Journalism and the Government

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1. With the empowerment of citizen journalism, does it equate to a shift in power away from traditional government institutions to the people?

2. Presuming citizen journalism does result in greater watch-dog efforts over the government, who would act as the watch-dog for the journalists? Would the people regulate themselves or become similar to how Wikipedia is given credibility?

3. How could the Shadow Government initiatives in Iceland be replicated on a larger scale? What is the point where having more people causes more harm than good?

Oct 24 2010

Week 9 Framing Questions

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  1. The Goode article calls for a new form gatekeeping.  How can gatekeeping be monitored when there is a large number of people setting the agenda for the news?
  2. In the Lilleker article, he states that audiences are getting harder to reach.  I would argue that this is incorrect.  With the rise of the Internet, social networking, and citizen journalism, people are easier to reach than ever.  How is it that people can be so involved and yet so hard to reach out to?
  3. With all of the articles, there is a common theme of  citizen journalism and politics.  Specifically in Iceland, is there a link between high citizen journalism participation and high political participation?

Oct 24 2010

Week 9 – Framing Questions

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1.  In Goode’s article he discusses the concept of citizen journalists as concept-creators. He argues that part of the art of journalism is the craft of re-telling stories rather than simply disclosing them. If we accept the fact that citizen journalists can in fact become content-creators and develop news stories for the public, do we hold them at the same level of accountability and credibility as we do traditional news outlets?

2. In Lilleker and Jackson’s article touching on interactive political communications, the authors analyze interactive tools in regards to political branding and campaigns. As they discussed the benefits of social media and online branding on President Obama’s election, it made me wonder how his team was able to manage/control so many media outlets? One of the perks of social media is the ability to control and generate content to an extent and to enable public discussions, however, one disadvantage to using this medium is the loss of control when it comes to users commenting, posting and responding in a a negative fashion. With numerous MySpace groups, Facebook pages and interactive branding features, is social media worth the risk of negative public backlash?

3.  In Lackaff and Grimsson’s article, they discuss the benefits of a website dedicated to helping citizens stay in touch with local government and current legislation. While I like the idea of having a website to help citizens stay informed, I wonder if this model would work in a country with a much larger population such as the U.S.? While the U.S. has specific political parties that could be represented as they were in the Iceland model, would a single site be broad enough to address all the political issues? Additionally, with all of the media outlets within a larger country like the U.S., would a single site like this be utilized as it was meant to be?

Oct 24 2010

Citizen Journalism [Framing]

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1. Why is citizen journalism so hard for professional and traditional journalists to accept? From the definition in this article–which I can’t say I agree with entirely–citizens are painted to reflect what professional journalists are. The difference is that citizen journalists don’t have professional training or a degree in the profession.

2. How will politicians begin to use social media after seeing how Obama worked it in the last election? Will this cause younger generations of Americans to vote more frequently and consistently?

3. How will online editors continue to filter such a large influx of information from citizen journalists. Should the editors themselves be citizen journalists, or professional journalists with experience in the field?