Citizen Journalism: Is it changing the journalism sector?

Yesterday, I watched a documentary called John Simpson: Stories from the Frontline. It examined foreign correspondence and the last question focused on the term “citizen journalism” and it got me thinking. Is it changing the sector? As I’m writing this, I’m a hands grab away from my phone. I can click a button and there we have it a photo or a video. It’s that easy.

Things are filmed all of the time, from local events like the Great North Run, to national and international events. We’ve seen it many times before, in different contexts. They provide evidence, they provide someones individual account of an event. Citizen journalism is by far a very powerful aspect of the multimedia medium. We can see an event right there and in the moment with broadcasting applications such as Periscope and Meerkat. Youtube has

It’s scary to think that a few decades ago we wouldn’t have been able to do it. It would be left up to journalists, the people trained to talk to camera and deliver news packages. Now it’s almost as though we are all journalists. We are those people on the ground, telling people “how it is”. It isn’t just journalists who do it anymore. Does that show how fact the sector is changing? Of course it does. User-generated content is becoming ever more powerful. Journalists are using sources “right from the horse’s mouth” so to speak.

I did this last week at an event, even though BBC Look North were there. Many other people joined me in documenting the Sunderland City of Culture launch. We videoed many of the acts and photographed them too, all of which could have been used in print, online and broadcast. We would not have been able to do this years ago. The general public are now contributing to the journalism sector – we are now all sources of information.

I can remember being shown a documentary whereby people were filming a war. The film was being used to show people the reality on the frontline. Journalism then developed and journalists did this job. We are now seeing journalists and the general public coming together to create packages of information. A definite development in journalism and something that has seen the a “super medium” evolve. People are reporting what they see not what they think they see. It’s a powerful thing to consider.

It will develop even further with the use of Periscope and other live streaming apps. Live blogging is also up and coming in the online world. We’ve already witnessed the phenomenon of Youtube. A once up and coming website and application that is now used by millions daily and one which has developed into an unfathomable career choice.  You can now be a full-time “Youtuber” or vlogger as it’s more commonly known.

What has the next decade got in store for the journalism sector?

What do you think?


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