Can we trust Citizen Journalist? The Pros and Cons

Citizen Journalism
Source: What is Citizen Journalism and how does it Influence News, www.brandwatch.com

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.

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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?

References:

Brown, P. F 2010. The Pros and Cons of Citizen Journalism, Western Journalism, 12 March, viewed 12 September 2015, http://www.westernjournalism.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-citizen-journalism/

Finch, S 2012. The Pros and Cons of Citizen Journalism: What are your thoughts?,Blog Spot, 18 October, viewed 11 September 2015, http://sarahfich2.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/the-pros-and-cons-of-citizen-journalism.html

Mzumara, M 2014. Citizen Journalism- A right with Responsibility, The Financial Gazette, 22 January, viewed 12 September 2015, http://www.financialgazette.co.zw/citizen-journalism-a-right-with-responsibility/

Nelson, J 2013. Pros and Cons of Citizen Journalism, Blog Spot, 12 September, viewed 11 September 2015, http://letstalkaboutstrategiccommunication.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/pros-and-cons-of-citizen-journalism.html

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, http://www.ojr.org/the-pros-and-cons-of-newspapers-partnering-with-citizen-journalism-networks/

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