Citizen Journalism is a new phenomenon in the digital world that we all live in. Without the social media platforms that we use everyday, citizen journalism would not have grown to the point that it has. These platforms have created connections between people from all of the world and it has therefore allowed anyone to communicate world events and news – not just people who work for big news companies. Citizen journalism is based on public citizens “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information.”
The devices that we have today such as high quality cameras and smart phones allow anyone to film a video of the events going on around them and upload it for the whole world to see. For example, the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington D.C. were filmed and photographed by millions of people. This tragic event was one of the major driving forces behind the rise of the digital age and citizen journalism. People in New York City and Washington D.C., who witnessed the attacks posted th
eir videos, pictures, and stories online. Following the attacks, phone lines and big news companies websites were overcapacity and people could not get information. Instead, people got information from non traditional news media platforms. In 2001, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook did not exist. If they had there would have been not only an overload of people on news we
bsites, but also on Twitter and Facebook where people would not be getting information from news reporters but rather their friends and family who witnessed the events.
Because the technology needed to share news is so accessible today, the impact people have on where people turn to for their news is changing. Before the digital age, people could only turn to the big news companies to find information. Now, anyone is able to publish anything online, which makes for a potential problem. With so many people posting stories and news, it can be easy to find false information. Because anyone can post a story online, news companies now have to compete with small players for the attention of the public. Anyone who is at the scene of an event can immediately post their pictures, videos, and stories online. Their story will be out there for the public before a news reporter even reaches the scene of the event. Therefore, journalists are pressured to get their story out there as quickly as possible. As a result of that, many journalists do not have time to double check their
sources. In a BBS communications survey of more than 45 journalists from print television, online, and radio media, 83.3% of those journalists felt they had been placed under pressure to publish stories which they felt did not meet professional standards. Many journalists feel it is more important to get the story out first rather than have the facts right.
The digital age has been both beneficial but also sometimes controversial. While I believe it is great that anyone is able to post their stories, pictures, and videos, I worry that I sometimes am reading false information. Overall, I think our world has changed for the better after the start of the digital age.