The words Citizen and Journalism in my eyes have never been separate. Everyone has bias, everyone has a side and everyone can be wrong. Growing up in the ever increasing world of social media and the internet, fact checking, seeking alternate sources and a general skepticism of news has become a habit.
Both the professional media and citizen journalists have their merits and their drawbacks. With citizen journalism, a lack of a standardised code of conduct or ethics and a lack of training can lead to incomplete and misinformation being spread. A lack of credibility and unethical practices can also be seen in some citizen journalism (Professional journalism can also seen to suffer from unethical practices…News of the World anyone?) Professional journalism can be said suffer from a lack of efficiency and owner bias (cough…Murdoch…cough) among other issues.
We as digital and interconnected citizens are becoming less and less dependent on legacy media and more reliant on each other for our information. News organisations such as CNN, the Guardian and even local newspapers are attempting to engage with the citizen journalist by crowd sourcing stories, images and opinions. Apps, hashtags and whole websites are dedicated to the coexistence and interaction of professional and citizen journalist. As much as the blogosphere boasts about the success and efficiency of citizen journalism it must be said that professional journalist use Twitter and social media almost as effectively. Johnson shows us at least one positive result of this convergence; the accumulation of news sources found on social media “will lead to more news diversity and polarization at the same time“.
I hope that as more and more citizen journalists and professional journalists collaborate and converge Johnson’s idea will continue to occur. Never rely on a single source for your news, no matter how sensational, well written, witty or funny it is (I’m looking at you Buzzfeed)