What is a Citizen Journalist?
In the ever changing world that we live in today, it is a possibility that our holiday adventures may feature news worthy events. These events could be good, bad or really important. As a traveller you have the choice and means to take photos, participate, video or report back what you saw via the internet. This is what citizen journalism means. Because travellers are in more locations and experience increased exposure to world events, we are more likely to report these stories. A reporter from The Newyorker had this to say about Citizen Journalists in the article Amateur Hour:
‘Citizen journalists are supposedly inspired amateurs who find out what’s going on in the places where they live and work, and who bring us a fuller, richer picture of the world than we get from familiar news organizations, while sparing us the pomposity and preening that journalists often display’ Nicholas Lemann.
I think this can also be applied to those who travel, not just places we live and work. I know I have documented world events with my camera, and then uploaded them to the internet. The cover photo to this blog post was taken on one of my trips to New York, during a black lives matter protest in Manhattan.
These events can impact us suddenly while travelling, or we may choose to travel to countries looking for opportunities to capture such events. This will all depend on your motivations. For myself I have only reported on events I have witnessed by chance. For others, travelling to another country for citizen journialsm is possibly motivated by the want to convey the truth or to contribute to the cause.
When researching citizen journalism, blogging seemed to be the main platform of choice to report events online. A blog gives travellers the freedom to express their opinions about their travel experiences, products and services. However, in recent times, more travellers are sharing videos and images in blogs of actual experiences during world events. This is why I think world travellers make great citizen journalists. Media Shift article Your guide to citizen journalism writes:
‘… the audience knows more collectively than the reporter alone. Now, many of these Big Media outlets are trying to harness the knowledge of their audience either through comments at the end of stories they post online or by creating citizen journalist databases of contributors or sources for stories’ Mark Glaser.
Influencing Mainstream Media
Mainstream media sources citizen journalism for raw coverage of an event that they were not able to capture. They also are looking for first hand encounters to enhance their stories. Mainstream Journalists do not always have access to places and rely on citizen journalism for their information. As explained by Brain Conley below.
(Source: Tedx Talks)
Have you been involved in citizen journalism? I’d love to hear about it. Let me know what you think of this post, please like and comment below.
Thank you for reading 🙂
*blog post cover photo, author’s own.