When it comes to the term “citizen journalism”, many questions arise. For example, does it exist? In my opinion it absolutely does. Citizen journalism is a very important part of documenting historical events that happen throughout time, especially with the technology that we have available to us today. If someone is in the right place at the right time, they have the opportunity to use a camera phone, for example, to capture a specific moment that a major news network wouldn’t get the chance to. When I searched for an official definition of this term, I got ¨Citizen journalism, also known as public or participatory journalism or democratic journalism¨. I find it appropriate that the word democratic is used in this form of journalism because it represents the freedom citizen journalism encompasses. A good example of the importance of citizen journalism can be the Twin Tower terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. The reason why we have videos and pictures of the planes crashing into the building is because of bystanders who happened to be at the scene of the crime, and were able to use their video cameras, cell phones, or digital cameras to capture these moments. The footage that these bystanders were able to obtain appeared all over the news for many months. This is a perfect example of citizen journalism. While those people weren’t paid to take those videos, it can still be considered a form of journalism. It may not be “professional journalism” but I think the term citizen journalism describes it very well.
Citizen Journalism February 15, 2009