Citizen Journalism is something that is becoming more and more popular because blogging is something that is easily available to everyone. In this century, we all have the ability to pass on any form of information whenever we want.
An example of when citizen journalism was extremely essential was during Hurricane Sandy. When this hurricane hit New Orleans, it was hard for people to know what was exactly going on because journalists were pre occupied with the fact that their city was underwater. Those who did not live in New Orleans were first informed about this terrible crisis from those who were experiencing it first hand. People would tweet and post on Facebook updates of what was currently happening.
I believe the idea of citizen journalism comes with both pros and cons. For example, during Hurricane Sandy there were a lot of tweets and posts that misinformed those who were not affected by the hurricane. The article Citizen Journalism Needs a Dose of Journalistic Ethics After Sandy states how citizen journalism provided dangerous misinformation and fuelled damaging rumours because it wasn’t appropriately checked and researched”. Since journalist want to post the story first they will do whatever it takes to stand out – even if that means sharing false information!
The article also talked about how twitter can also do some serious damage. Since everyone has the option to post whatever they want, that means they can easily spread false information. Someone once tweeted something about the New York Stock Exchange crashing and just like that “one irresponsible person can cause real damage to the economy on the basis of a complete falsehood”.
When I am reading information I find it extremely difficult to know if it is true or not. Who is the person who is supposed to be verifying it? If we don’t witness it ourselves how are we supposed to believe or trust anyone?
This twitter account was verified as being real and it was still able to post something that was complete nonsense. Despite the fact that this was a lie, many people believed the information that was being told in this tweet.
Although it is easy for civic journalism to spread false information, it also comes with a lot of advantages. For starters, it allows people who aren’t professional journalist to participate and create their own media. Anyone is able to report events on the internet. It also empowers local communities in terms of ordinary people being able to share and tell their stories. Civic journalism spreads information that ‘mainstream media’ doesn’t.
After listening to Sonya Rehman talk about the benefit of citizen journalism, it becomes obvious how people are able to make change this way. You are able to report information as you see it and discuss things that are happening.
No matter what, everyone should understand that information they hear might not always be true. We all need to learn how to check our information and to make sure it is reliable. It is important for everyone to have the ability to post and share information, however, it is up to us to perceive if the information is correct.