Okay, to be honest, I didn’t really like this week’s readings. They were depressing for me to read. The topic was citizen journalism and how it’s becoming more and more popular and how traditional journalism is steadily declining. Now, that will really make somebody who’s going to school for a degree in journalism feel even more reassured about the job market. Good lord, I’m weeks away from graduating and am anxious enough about entering the real world. This week’s readings in both Dispatches from Blogistan and We the Media discussed how this seems to be the direction people are going in to get their news. If that’s true, then what have I been going to school for these past four years?
The topic itself is interesting and I can see the arguments for it. We as journalists sometimes get so focused on writing a story from a specific angle we lose sight of the greater picture. We’re so focused on the story we’ve already half written in our heads (trust me, it really does happen that way sometimes) that we fail to look for other facts and tidbits that may be just as newsworthy. I’ve done it before and I’m sure it’ll happen again. I’m only human and therefore, bound to make human mistakes. So I can honestly see the benefits of citizen journalism. It never hurts to have another set of eyes on watch. It’ll also present a challenge to us journalists to do a more thorough job when it comes to reporting the news and deciding what’s newsworthy. So, the idea is obviously not without merit.
But with all of this going on, I started thinking about the repercussions of having a public turning to citizen journalism for their news. When you go to school for a degree in journalism, you don’t just “learn to write.” Honestly, I think that if you want to become a journalist you should already know how to. That’s the reason you’re going into the field, isn’t it? As journalists we also have to consider the ethics of our job as well as the legal issues that may arise from what we say and print. That being said, I started wondering how this aspect of journalism would affect citizen journalists. One positive thing from this reading that I found was the end of the chapter in Dispatches from Blogistan had tips concerning these issues. Obviously, the standards would be a bit different, but I’d like to think that if a person is serious about being a citizen journalist, they would be responsible enough to take the time to look into these things before posting anything. It adds to their reliability as a source just as it does to ours.
1. What kinds of adjustments to the field do you perceive have to be made to the field of journalism to stay on track with the way people get their news?
2. How can citizen journalists make sure that they may be regarded on the same level as professional journalists (in terms of being a reliable source of news)?