Essay: Citizen Journalism

First of all, it is clear that these three papers describe the term ‘citizen journalism’, but all from slight different perspectives. The first article focuses on a Belgian newspaper (Het Belang van Limburg), which has recently introduced a new idea: it created a platform (Het belang van mijn gemeente) for people, where it’s possible to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions on the local community news. It strongly encourages citizens to share their own stories on the website. People become so-called ‘citizen journalists’, and everyone is free to publish their own opinions. It is remarkable that the articles on the website are placed next to the professional journalist articles, made by local journalists, without a clear line between the both kinds of articles. The paper in fact investigates the differences and similarities between the two kinds of journalism, based on the newspapers.

The second paper focuses on the new Web 2.0 technologies. Due to the rising and striking possibilities of the Internet, common people can share information easily. For that reason, the traditional ways of news reporting are changing: we go from a top-down participation (by the media and other common sources of news) to a more bottom-up participation in the news reporting process. Some of those new media offer participation possibilities for the citizens. We must address the question whether Web 2.0 has helped the importance of citizens in the news nowadays, or had led to a more divided way of news reporting. Unlike the first paper, this paper examines five Belgian newspapers and gives clear evidence that citizens indeed appear more in the daily news output today.

The third paper describes the movements in both public and citizen journalism and shows perspectives on how both the journalism nowadays (as we describe as a common way of news reporting) and the journalism in the future (with participation of citizins) can help the public life. The traditional journalistic principles such as objectivity and distance are questioned. We can conclude that those principles are not longer useful in the traditional news reporting way today. Today we are focusing on new terms such as interactivity, transparency and openness.

The three chosen articles agree mainly on most of the topics. Due to increasing possibilities and use of the Internet, the role of traditional journalism mainly shifts from a traditional news reporting way to a bottom-up news reporting way. It gives average people the ability to transmit information globally. A long time ago that power was reserved only for large media corporations and news agencies. The articles seem to present similar findings on citizen journalism and the increasing role of citizen in providing news.

Research question

Personally I would like to investigate the following research topic:

Today, citizen journalism is much discussed and a hot buzzword in news reporting. Citizens play an important, increasing and guiding role in collecting and distributing the news nowadays. But there are also many questions unanswered about citizen journalism. Will citizen journalism play an essential role in the future of news gathering and reporting? What separates citizen journalism from news professionals? Therefore I would like to investigate if the new form of news reporting has a clear impact on the quality, subjects and veracity of the news, and also on the way the news is framed and appears in newspapers or social media. I would not limit my research to Belgium journalism and do a worldwide research because the emerging use of Internet as a news-reporting site is not only a local phenomenon.

I could make an equation between different newspapers, and look if they encourage citizen journalism whether or not. Furthermore I could compare the quality and veracity of the news.

‘How do online citizen journalism and the increasing possibilities of the Internet change the traditional news reporting way in a global news market’?

Source: Essay UK -

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