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Presentation on theme: "O NLINE J OURNALISM W HERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE ? By Emily List."— Presentation transcript:


2 I NTRODUCTION The Web today is a free-for-all: no one has control of what people are posting, so how are we to know what’s really news or not? Online news has become a muddled mess of un- sourced facts, opinions and poor grammar. So, should online journalism be reserved for the professionals, or should citizens have their say too? And where do you draw the line?


4 R ESEARCH Q UESTION : Does citizen journalism qualify as professional journalism? Before answering this, we must first address what citizen journalism really is…

5 10 LAYERS OF CITIZEN JOURNALISM First step: Opening up to public comment ~enabling readers to attach comments to articles on the Web. Second step: The citizen add-on reporter ~to recruit citizen add-on contributions for stories written by professional journalists. Third step: Open-source reporting ~ a collaboration between a professional journalist and his/her readers on a story Fourth step: The citizen bloghouse ~ a way to get citizens involved in a news Web site is to simply invite them to blog for it.

6 10 L AYERS OF CITIZEN JOURNALISM CONT. Fifth step: Newsroom citizen ‘transparency’ blogs ~ sharing the inner workings of the newsroom with readers or viewers. Sixth step: The stand-alone citizen-journalism site ~ establishing a stand-alone citizen- journalism Web site that is separate from the core news brand. Seventh step: A print edition of the sixth step

7 C ONTINUED … Eighth step: The hybrid: Pro + citizen journalism ~ a news organization that combines citizen journalism with the work of professionals. Ninth step: Integrating citizen and pro journalism under one roof ~ a theory of a news Web site comprised of reports by professional journalists alongside submissions from citizens. Tenth step: Wiki journalism: Where the readers are editors.

8 H YPOTHESIS Citizen journalism falls short of professional journalism due to a number of reasons, mainly lack of objectivity, lack of proper education and a lack of experience in the field. For example, citizen journalists have started to utilize user generated content, by sourcing Facebook (65%), Twitter (52%), and Wikipedia (61%), so how can there possibly be authenticity and accuracy in what they report?

9 E XPLANATION OF M ETHODOLOGY Not accountable to anyone and have no need to be objective. Bound by conventions, stylistic requirements and a keen sense of accountability (your job and credibility is on the line). Citizen JournalistsProfessional Journalists

10 T HE FINDINGS Most professional journalists don’t take citizen reporters very seriously: “I don't think 'citizen journalism' can sustain the type of reporting that produces Pulitzer prize winning pieces.” - Richard Roher, the president of Roher Public Relations “Without the training and education that most journalists have, most citizens cannot qualify as journalists… they are best at reporting breaking events, and not likely to be very helpful for in- depth, analytical or investigative reporting." - Indian’s Professor Weaver

11 T HE FINDINGS CONT. An example of an anonymous citizen report’s lead in a story from : “Terry Knutsen, who performed under the name Terry Teen during the 1960s, died on Friday evening after life support systems were removed, according to sources close to the artist. Mr. Knutsen was seriously injured on Wednesday evening, while riding his bicycle along the outskirts of Tyler, Texas, United States.”

12 T HE FINDINGS CONT. A citizen reporter’s photo caption from Demotix: “A wrestler arrives with a face mask for Day 4 of the Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka, Japan. Sumo is a competitive full- contact sport where a wrestler (rikishi) attempts to force another wrestler out of a circular ring.”

13 T HE FINDINGS CONT. Example of another citizen report from “…The group argues that China which produces 95 per cent plus of the global supply is pushing up prices. China replies that it is enforcing quotas to limit environmental damage through excessive mining. Apparently China suddenly has a laudable interest in the environment! A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said: ‘We think the policy is in line with WTO rules,’ ‘Exports have been stable. China will continue to export, and will manage rare earths based on WTO rules,’ he said.”

14 C ONCLUSION There has to be a balance : citizen journalism needs to be reserved to unofficial sites, blogs and reader comments so as to distinguish them from professional news sites and articles written by actual journalists. If newsrooms do decide to incorporate citizen reporters, they should 1) find ones worthy of the tasks, 2) give them some training or assess their initial efforts, 3) have them report, take photos, etc. for free when the paper needs it, and 4) edit what they submit.

15 But before we feel the need to throw the professionals overboard in lieu of “free labor,” let us first find ways to put out-of-work journalists, those with not enough work, or those who can’t find work after they graduate, back in the harness. The “almost journalists” of our modern age have their place in the saddle, but should not be allowed to take the reins.

16 S OURCES 13 March 2012. Web site. 12 April 2012. Demotix. 14 March 2012. Web site. 15 March 2012. News, CBS. "Citizen Journalism: Hype and Reality." 18 May 2010. CBS News. Web site. 12 April 2012. Outing, Steve. "The 11 Layers of Citizen Journalism." 2 March 2011. Poynter. Web site. April 12 2012. Rogers, Tony. "Citizen Journalism - What is citizen journalism?" 2012. Web site. 12 April 2012. Steinman, Ron. "Citizen Journalism: A Recipe for Disaster." December 2009. The Digital Journalist. Web site. 12 April 2012. "The Professional Journalist versus the Citizen Journalist: Friend or Foe?" 10 October 2010. Media Literacies. Web site. 12 April 2012. "The Rise of Citizen Journalism." 2012. Our Block. Web site. 12 April 2012. Ward, Stephan. "Digital Media Ethics." 2010. Center for Journalism Ethics. Web site. 12 April 2012. 19 March 2012. Web site. 12 April 2012.


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