I think citizen journalism which is a new era for online reporting should be encouraged. It should be encouraged because it can report breaking news faster than the traditional news. For example on July 7 2005, “when terrorist bombs exploded on London subway trains and a bus”, BBC reporters were stressed to get the news and get them right. At the evening news, it was covered with edited videos and photographs sent in by the people who are now called “citizen journalists”. Journalists and news companies are in intense pressure to get the news first, right and in time especially when there is a relatively more important event. The reporters cannot be everywhere and this is why they collobarate with each other. Although there are reporters all over the world, this does not mean that they will be at the point where the event occurs. This is why citizen journalists should be encouraged because they will post the event with their technological devices in seconds after the event and it will be free. For example the death of Qaddafi video was used by the news agencies. Moreover, the fact that citizen journalists are recording the events shows the audience that they are faithful to the general principles of journalism in a sense. The videos are true, loyal to its citizens, can be verified, it is independent and people can comment on it.
The news that citizen journalists cover have variable subjects. While a citizen journalist covers the stories of people in India and Pakistan, another person or a group of people can cover magazine news. If there is an area of interest and if that area has a past of becoming sensational as the wars or the elections, their news and themselves can count as citizen journalism. If there was a not a huge mass of people interested in magazine news, there would not be the concept of “sensation” in magazines or newspapers. Although people who chose to do these news are violating a person’s privacy, they are following the path of magazines which are doing the same thing by lying most of the time.
There is a lot of critism made to citizen journalism as they are subjective, unregulated, amateurish and they do not have a shield law. But people should be aware that this area is not a professional domain and most people who are posting these news do not know what they are achieving or causing by posting the photos and the videos. People who are so naively putting news up, with no professional concerns or restrictions, are reflecting the sheer truth and thus achieving more than the so called ‘professional’ but realistically and historically constipated sector.
Citizen journalism should be encouraged because people achieve to connect and see the facts from all around the world. For example the CLP (The Common Language Project) travels around the world to cover the stories of people who are not covered by the newspapers but have an audience to read it. Sometimes it does not have to be the stories of other people. It could be small breaking news as a car crash which the public will follow to go to their home in less time – as they do in Canada from CP24 or other sites.
The public, i.e. the new citizen journalists, can offer as much new information as the news agencies, and maybe even more pertinent ones.