Citizen journalism refers to people who often do not have any real training in journalism reporting news or commenting on current events. With the advent of the internet, average people gained a powerful voice that was once only available to professional journalists. People misunderstand much about the concept and practice of citizen journalism. The following 7 myths and facts about citizen journalism will help to reveal the truth of this form of journalism.
Citizen Journalism Is Almost Always Unreliable
Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. Even professional journalists are not always right so the reliability of citizen journalism must be evaluated on a case by case basis. While you may believe that citizen journalism is more likely to be unreliable, the scope of this form of journalism makes it difficult to track.
Only Trained Journalists Create Citizen Journalism
This is not true and is only believed by those who do not understand what citizen journalism is. Actually, citizen journalism is largely created by individuals who are not trained in journalistic pursuits. Journalism does not always require formal education.
Only Non-Trained Journalists Create Citizen Journalism
This is not true either. While non-professionals may be thought to produce the bulk of citizen journalism, professionally trained journalists can still write blogs apart from formal publications. These writings can fall into the category of citizen journalism too.
Citizen Journalism Is Always Text
In truth, citizen journalism is a term that includes photos and videos as well as the written word. Journalism can take on many forms and citizen journalism is no different.
Citizen Journalism Detracts From Professional Journalism
You might think that with anyone being able to post thoughts, opinions, and their own version of the facts that this would obscure the truth. In some cases, this is true. However, this medium also allows average individuals to question the veracity of professional publications. With an untold number of individuals double-checking the facts of every published article, professional journalists must work even harder to be unbiased and get their facts straight. Citizen journalism can improve professional journalism in this way.
Blogs Do Not Count As Citizen Journalism
This is a huge myth. Blogs comprise a large portion of what is considered citizen journalism. Blogs, along with message boards and other online forums, are among the primary ways that average individuals who may or may not have any training in journalism can share their perspectives and ideas.
Citizen Journalism Possesses More Bias Than Professional Journalism
This is another one of those myths that is difficult to track. Many would assert that mainstream media is incredibly biased in one direction or another. Attempting to compare the level of bias of more mainstream forms of journalistic expression as compared to the expansive field of citizen journalism is a gargantuan task.
Professional journalism can be biased and citizen journalism can be objective or vice versa. Works must be evaluated on their own merits and not according to which category they fall into. These myths and facts about citizen journalism cover a wide expanse of journalistic expressions that are, at the very least, difficult to categorize.
Mary Ward blogs about how to choose among journalism degrees.
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