Journalism’s one of the main golden rules is timeliness and it is very effective in the street journalism. It is a fact that journalists not always can be present when incidents or disasters strike. However, with street journalism people are enabled to learn the latest events instantly. With the rising use of social media and citizen journalism, even some professional journalists are feeling pressure to access a crisis and get out the current event firstly. It is a fact that, eyewitnesses see the correct facts and they are able to get their story out through Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets. Being timeliness is a major advantage of the street journalism, because “recent events have higher news value than earlier happenings. “ Citizen journalism sites (social media and blogs) are generally timely and they are always updated when an event strikes. Therefore in today’s world, people have high expectations for timeliness when they read news. The web establishes its own advantages of speed and timeliness more and more.
Independence is another golden rule of the citizen journalism. The social media gives average people the ability to transfer information globally and independently. Citizen journalism contains also freedoms of speech. When a story appears online, readers can post more information or even their feelings about the news that is not covered in the original story. Citizen journalists are fully independent and not traditional. There is not any concern to abide the rules and ethics of journalism and the news agencies’ concepts. Street journalist even use slang expressions and no one have a right to judge them. The source of citizens’ credibility is their ability to inform interestingly. They can be biased or they can exaggerate the fact, however the value of being independence is always there.
Street journalism also have a power to make significant relevant. Even though citizens can write what they want and can decide the value of signification of a piece of news, with a process of natural selection the most significant or important news can be relevant through the events that is happened throughout the day. Moreover, most of the time the news that is worth to be significant, becomes a trending topic. Most of the time, the news that has many clicks on social websites, is the one that is interesting and relevant. The news that enlightens society becomes the most effective.
The last golden rule that is applicable in street journalism is purveying a forum for public criticism and compromise. Reader’s demands for expressing their views can be operated practically with the street journalism. Citizen journalism sites provide a forum for critics and compromises and this develops the necessary loop for citizens to express their opinions more. Citizen journalism increases public’s awareness to the events with permitting them to express their feelings directly and allows them to comment on what the mainstream media or street journalism is reporting. It also makes people to see diversity of viewpoints and this purveys people to be interested in street journalism more.
Having said all the above, citizen who aspire to be journalists but have no interest in Golden Rules can flood the journalism sector. I strongly believe that a natural selection process eventually would not discard fake or prejudiced news that is formed for the sake of influencing public. This also can push the media to be more reactionary and trustworthy. We already know how street journalism can outspread through minutes and fake news can make also the same affect as they spread the information all over the world with just one click and can suddenly create bad consequences.
For instance, when Hurricane Sandy battered the city on Monday night, the person named Shashank Tripathia (New York City hedge fund), began issuing false and alarming news reports on Twitter. Tripathia contributed to the chaos by falsely claiming that all subways would be shut the rest of the week and that the New York Stock Exchange was under more than 3 feet of water. The messages retweeted 636 times and even reported on by national media, including by CNN and The Weather Channel.
(http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/30/hurricane-sandy-false-news-twitter/1670249/) This spread of misinformation worried people and caused a little chaos.
As another example, when the East Coast earthquake stroke, there were few versions of a video claiming to be NYC building swaying in the quake. But people recognized that it was Tokyo, not New York. Other than that, there were claims that the Washington Monument was leaning after the quake and twitter went crazy with the rumor for a couple hours. Lastly there were damage photos that come out of the quake, but it turns out to be a Flickr photo from 2010. The picture has been passed around Twitter more times than just about any other earthquake photo.
Lets assume that an invented piece of news occurs on someone’s Twitter, who has also lots of followers. The verifiability of the news cannot be searched easily. Because of that it would start to spread over the social media by retweets. It can be count as true news till some other contradicting news occurs, especially in the mainstream media. This would make people to question the verifiability of the fake news and if the conflicting news can be proved, the fake one would only disappear with this way.
As always, it is up to the citizen himself to decide whether they want to abide by the Golden Rules and turn into a Golden Journalist or not.