Citizen journalism is defined by the collection, dissemination, and analysis of news and information by the general public, especially by means of the Internet. With citizen journalism, average citizens are spreading news through applications such as twitter, blogs, Facebook etc. This can be good and bad.
First lets talk about the disadvantages of citizen journalism.
Citizen journalists have no real training. This confuses the public on deciding what to believe and what not to believe. In traditional journalism, the facts that are written are considered to be more accurate because it is a professional writing them. With citizen journalism it is just a regular person reporting the facts so no one can be sure if it’s fully accurate.
Another disadvantage of citizen journalism is that is has a much smaller audience than traditional journalism. By publishing on social media accounts only those who follow the account will get to see their story. This limits the amount of people who will see their story and prevents it from spreading across the world. Traditional journalists get their stories published on the radio or the television. This is international broadcasting that allows the world to see their story.
Now lets talk about the advantages of citizen journalism.
One of the main advantages of citizen journalism is that it gives everyone a voice. With citizen journalism you don’t have to have professional training and experience in order to have your voice heard. As long as you have access to technology you can post about whatever you want using twitter, blog websites and many other social media applications. The shooting of Michael Brown that took place in Ferguson, Missouri is a great example of citizen journalism. The people who saw the shooting took place, they were just regular people who became citizen journalists after seeing what happened. Twitter user @TheePharoah saw the shooting of Michael Brown take place first hand. He went with the philosophy see something, say something. Immediately after the shooting occurred he posted a tweet on twitter and it went viral. Following the tweet, he then posted a photo of all the cops at the scene.
The use of social media was able to give a random citizen the tools to have his voice heard. It was important for the cops to not get away with what they did. Without citizen journalism this story would have taken much longer for the public to find out about it.
Everyone has something important to say. With citizen journalism everyones voice is heard. If you want to publish a story you should be allowed to publish a story regardless of what credentials you may have. In my opinion citizen journalism has many more advantages than it does disadvantages.