Friday, January 29, 2016

Tonight’s Top News… Staring You


In a world overpowered with technology and information, breaking news often comes from a variety of sources and most of them are virtual. Ordinary citizens like you and I are now able to share stories that may have not been heard if resources like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or personal blogs had not been invented.

This concept is known today as "citizen journalism," this is defined as the gathering, spreading, and analysis of news and information by the general public, especially from the internet. An article featured on Poynter.org discusses the three main points that are benefits of citizen journalism. The first advantage is opening up content to the public’s comment. People can freely express their opinion on the internet, sometimes with no filter, but overall this provides feedback to what the viewers want. The next benefit of citizen journalism is the civilian acts as an add-on reporter. Many news stations and other journalists use videos they find off of social media in their stories in order to improve them. And the last main benefit is the idea of "open-source" or "participatory" reporting. Again with using of social media there is a whole new realm of videos that are open for reporters to take advantage of (The 11 Layers of Citizen Journalism).

Many argue whether or not phone cameras and internet videos threaten broadcasts, but many state that “the collective arena is a hive of creativity." Roger Graef, award-winning filmmaker and founder of Films of Record shows two main issues arising when looking at citizen journalism; “There are two big downsides to 'found' video: the first is provenance; it takes money and time to check that it is real and not faked; the second risk is that just because you can shoot on a camera phone doesn't mean you should. I worry that commissioners will use this as an excuse to cut budgets for factual even further" (The Rise of Citizen Journalism). Overall, Graef is questioning is the credibility of videos posted by people who may not be qualified to report on that topic and there is always the possibility the whole video is made up. Even with this time consuming and costly method, many believe that citizen videos greatly broaden the horizon for journalists and filmmakers

Social media is opening a whole new world for the realm of news and media. Chris Shaw, editorial director ITN Productions says, "It's a whole new force of amazing, raw and close-to-the action footage and there is a lot more of it" (The Rise of Citizen Journalism). On recent example of how this information has been so valuable to the public is from the documentary created by Shaw and ITN called Syria’s Torture Machine. This documentary included over 30,000 clips that were uploaded on numerous social media sites including videos from military torturers and footage from local families and citizens caught in demonstrations. These videos are so treasured is because there are many places, like Syria, where journalists are not allowed to go. Videos straight from the people who are being affected adds so much value to the story being told.


Journalism has been forever changed, and that is mostly for the better, thanks to the fact that people can interact with media organizations and share their opinions, personal stories, and photos and videos of news as it happens.

References:

"The 11 Layers of Citizen Journalism." Poynter. N.p., 31 May 2005. Web. Feb. 2016.

Bulkley, Kate. "The Rise of Citizen Journalism." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 10 June      2012. Web. Feb. 2016.


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