Can we trust Citizen Journalist? The Pros and Cons

Citizen Journalism
Source: What is Citizen Journalism and how does it Influence News,

So it has been explored how Citizen Journalism differentiates from Traditional Journalism and the evidence in how this new form of journalism has played a part in modern society. It is now time to establish whether we can actually trust what is being written and shared on the different social media platforms. Citizen Journalism encompasses both positive and negative implications.

Mzumara 2014, even stated that ‘Citizen Journalism is a double-edged sword’.  Can we as a society really trust Citizen Journalist? Would you trust them? The fact of the matter is that anyone can be a Citizen Journalist and anyone can post whatever information they like; even if the truth is blurred.

Firstly, it is important to establish the pros and cons on this form of journalism. This will then help formulate our ideas about whether it is trustworthy or not.

The Pros

There are many important aspects to consider when discussing the positive elements Citizen Journalism has on society. Citizen Journalism provides a voice to those ordinary people that are not commonly heard in any form of media, in particular traditional media. This type of journalism creates a two-way communication between the sender and receiver, allowing people to comment, discuss and share additional information. Giving Citizen Journalist the power .

As reporters do not have ability to be in every location, the internet provides a facility that allows the distribution of information to reach a wider audience, instead of waiting for newspapers to be released.

Although there are many positive impacts of Citizen Journalism, it’s vital to also consider the negative impacts and implications this type of journalism has on society. It has been noted that Citizen Journalist are best at reporting breaking events and sharing it with society, however are unable to follow through to be very helpful for in-depth, analytical or investigative reporting.


The Cons

The contrary argument is that Citizen Journalism has major implications and can restrict the amount of truth being delivered to the public. The ability of the reporters to leave out personal opinions and remain objective is something that cannot be enforced when dealing with Citizen Journalist. It is because this form of journalism lacks professionality, ethical standards and appropriate trainings. All of these barriers can lead to a dangerous situation if in the hands of irresponsible reporters.

Think before we post

As mentioned before, Citizen Journalism has been compared to a double-edged sword, both contributing and affecting the way is which reports are delivered.  If Citizen Journalist chooses to use the whole truth about what they are reporting, then this form of journalism will continue to have a positive influence on society. However, if the truth becomes blurry and opinions are thrown into the mix, then the public will find it difficult to believe the content posted; taking away value from the new form of journalism. Consequently in this form of journalism, the reporters do not have to report to anyone on what they post, making the truth harder to uncover in some circumstances.

 Do you trust everything you read?


Brown, P. F 2010. The Pros and Cons of Citizen Journalism, Western Journalism, 12 March, viewed 12 September 2015,

Finch, S 2012. The Pros and Cons of Citizen Journalism: What are your thoughts?,Blog Spot, 18 October, viewed 11 September 2015,

Mzumara, M 2014. Citizen Journalism- A right with Responsibility, The Financial Gazette, 22 January, viewed 12 September 2015,

Nelson, J 2013. Pros and Cons of Citizen Journalism, Blog Spot, 12 September, viewed 11 September 2015,

Storch, G 2010.  The Pros and Cons of newspaper partnering with ‘citizen journalism’ networks,  Online Journalism Review, University of Southern California, 26 February, viewed 12 September 2015,


We are Media. We are Citizen Journalism


Imagine, waking up in the morning, making your breakfast and coffee as usual and setting off out of the house like any other day. Moments into your journey you have been stopped by a crowd of people standing, watching and waiting as the event unfolds; you have just released you have become an eye witness to an extraordinary event. No news crew insight, so you decide to take out your phone and start to capturing and posting the footage and photos online. You have just become a Citizen Journalist.

Over the past decade, Citizen Journalists or eyewitnesses have emerged and have played a vital role in capturing, documenting and sharing extraordinary events through the use of various social media platforms.  The most famous example of Citizen Journalism came about on November 22 1963, when Abraham Zapruder captured the assassination of President Kennedy. Three copies of the film were made, two were handed to the authority and one was sold for $150,000.Crazy enough, the aftermath of some of the world most extraordinary disasters have been captured by Citizen Journalists.

The start of Citizen Journalism: the 9/11 Attacks on New York City

The 9/11 attacks on New York City were the start of the citizen journalism, as back in 2001 this type of journalism didn’t really exist due to the lack of camera phones and social media platforms. The horrific events of 9/11, saw a media frenzy of Citizen Journalism emerge in traditional media methods as ordinary people were capturing and reporting the attacks that journalists couldn’t. The demand for news updates and information during this attack were enormous, however people were only able to access these updates through television and radio. September 11 changed the Internet in regards to the way we search and need information on demand (Johnson 2011).

The Hudson River Plane Crash


The social media platform Twitter played a role in breaking the news to the world of the Hudson River Plane Crash. Unlike the 9/11 attacks, the event sent the social media world in the ciaos. Twitter users broke the news of the incident around 15 minutes before the mainstream media alerted viewers and readers of the crash (Beaumont 2009), showing the impact of Citizen Journalism during this event. On this day, ordinary people were the media.

The Race Against Time

Journalist race against the clock to provide information to the public as quickly as possible. Social media enables citizens to share information with each other and with emergency officials; contributing to the different stages of crisis management (Watson & Wadwha 2013). On-the-Ground News (ONGR), is a revolutionary social media news source that encourages the participant of ordinary people to contribute news stories from all over the world; enabling citizens to become the media.

Citizen Journalists have already made a large impact on society over the past decade and are playing an influential role in providing quick news updates on extraordinary events. The comparison between the coverage of the 9/11 attacks and the Hudson River Plane Crash, identifies the growth and importance of citizen journalism within todays modern society.

Do you agree with the notion that Citizen Journalists are the media?

Reference List:

Barnes. C.   Citizen Journalism vs. Traditional Journalism: A case for collaboration. Academic journal article. Caribbean Quarterly. Viewed 13th of August 2015.

Beaumont, C, 2009, New York plane crash: Twitter breaks the news again, The Telegraph, 16 January, viewed on 27 August 2015,

Bowman, S & Willis, C 2003, We Media: How Audiences Are Shaping the Future of News and Information, American Press Institute.

DeMers, J, 2013, How Social Media is Supporting a fundamental Shift in Journalism, The Huffington Australia, 9 May, viewed 28 August 2015,

Elliot, J 2013, Citizen Journalism- 9/11 Case Study, Journalism and The Online Revolution, Posted 11 January, WordPress, viewed 1 September 2015,

Gilmor, D 2004, We the Media: Grassroots Journalism By the People For the People O’Reilly Media, Sebastapol, CA

Henriquez, G, 2012, The Rise and Impact of Citizen Journalism, Posted 19 October 2012, BlogSpot, Viewed 27 August,

Johnson, J, 2011, How the Internet Changed after 9/11- Citizen Journalism, Social Media and Mobility, Media, 11 September, viewed 29 August 2015,

Watson, H & Wadhwa, K 2013, The Evolution of Citizen Journalism in Emergency Management, Emergency Management, Training & Education, 25 October, viewed on 28 of August 2015,

Citizen Journalism Vs. Traditional Journalism



In a society which is constantly changing due to the growth of the internet and technology, we as humans have to align with these changes to ensure that we are in trend. Simply writing this blog shows the transition in the way we report and publish news stories and information. This evolving trend of ordinary people writing and posting news stories on social media platforms is known as a form of Citizen Journalism. This form of journalism hasn’t always been around. Before the birth of the internet, society relied on traditional methods such as newspapers and magazine’s to keep them informed about news stories, whereas in today’s society we have news stories with a quick search on our phones, tablets and computers. Will traditional media outlets finally adapt to meet the demands of the 21st Century? There are so many arguments out there that favours both sides of journalism.

Citizen Journalism is defined as “the gathering writing, editing, production and distribution of news and information by people that are not trained and qualified journalist” (Viktoria 2014, p. 150).

Citizen journalism in its current form, emerged in the 1980’s, with the term Citizen Journalism becoming apparent in the 00s (Viktoria, 2014). It was the development of the internet that saw the growth in this phenomenon and it continues to rise as new social media platforms appear.

Citizen Journalist are taking opportunities through the use of modern technologies to discover, create and reveal different perspectives of newsworthy stories that beyond the reach of professional journalist. Most of the time Citizen Journalist capture extraordinary moments that traditional media cannot, whether they are eyewitnesses or positioned in remote and/ or dangerous locations. The participation, engagement and collaboration is the driving force behind Citizen Journalism.

Traditional Journalism on the other hand takes a very different approach as to the way news is reported. Do you believe that new media models are disrupting traditional journalism?

The differences between Traditional and Citizen Journalism are very clear. Social media platforms are applying enormous pressures to traditional methods. However too ensure society is being delivered with accurate and reliable information, it is vital the two forms of journalism merge together. Bringing the two concepts will give more depth and value to the stories.

As Citizen Journalism is having a strong impact on today’s modern culture, we as society need to expect that this is new form of presenting news and information and steer away from the ideologies of traditional methods. Citizen Journalism will continue to develop and expand as new technologies and social media platforms arise.

So what is your view on merging the two concepts? Do you think it will be successful in the long- term?

Reference List:

Annabel’s World. Citizen Journalism vs. Traditional Journalism. Posted April 20, 2012. WordPress blog. Viewed 14th of August 2015.

Barnes. C.   Citizen Journalism vs. Traditional Journalism: A case for collaboration. Academic journal article. Caribbean Quarterly. Viewed 13th of August 2015.

Hauser. J. 2014. A place for professional journalism in the age of the citizen journalist. Posted March 30th 2014. Viewed 12th of August 2015.

Macharashvili. N. 2012. Citizen Journalism and Traditional Media: 5 Ws &H. University of Warwick. MA in Creative and Media Enterprises. Viewed 12th of August 2015.

Viktória, M. 2014. The Golden Age of Citizen Journalism, Annales UMCS, Sectio K (Politologia); 2014, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p149-160, 12p.

Back to reality!

After three weeks of exploring and traveling the beautiful Greek Islands and the dry heat of Dubai, I found myself back in front of a computer screen beginning my last semester of University. I begin this semester with exploring the crazy world of social media and how is it constantly changing our lives. I look forward in seeing where this journey into social media takes me and how I can use it with future careers.