Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"How to be a Citizen Journalist"

By: Colin Reynolds

So I stumbled upon this video while doing research on user-generated content and citizen journalism and it's definitely not great but the quality is pretty good. And although I don't find it particularly funny (its rather lame attempts at 195os sexism and gender inequality are futile at best) but it does make light of what is perceived to be the biggest shortcomings of citizen journalism. I do think it effectively brings to question the flaws of citizen journalism and does so in a mildly humorous way.

For one, the video brings up the idea that anyone can be considered a journalist with little or no training and no association of any sorts. In fact, one could even "report" on an event or issue completely anonymously. But is this journalism? Some would argue that, despite various beneficial aspects of user-generated content, it is not in fact actual journalism. As Kelly McBride of Poynter Online suggests, "The journalists' loyalties are with the reader and viewer. You might question the independence and loyalty of various news organizations, or even all news organizations. But at least, in theory, you expect those values to guide the process of gathering news."

Although I feel like citizen journalism (a term I use solely because it has become the common idiom) has its advantageous, this aspect of trustworthiness and relevance is difficult to overcome. I think the video does a decent job highlighting these problems and the issues involved with UGC. For more on the advantages and disadvantages of "citizen journalim," check out this article from the Online Journalism Review.

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