The Rise of the citizen journalist

 Participatory culture. Now there’s a phrase for you, and whether you know it or not, you are more than likely contributing to this form of collective intelligence. Although criticised for its underlying subjective tone, I believe that it is these subjective and bias accounts which produce this user generated content so as to represent truth through a community of differed ideas and opinions.

An instance when participatory citizen journalism rose to the occasion was throughout the 2005 London Bombings, with assistance from our trusty friend; the mobile phone. First hand accounts of the traumatic attack were captured through mobile phones, collectively framing the initial shock and dismay as what these “pictures lacked in photogenic expertise they make up for in immediacy and poignancy”, in contrast to the mainstream medias use of images and reports which “gleaned from eyewitnesses using their mobile phones, but these were then subject to the usual editorial processes (or gate-keeping). However, later some ‘citizen journalists’, who had captured the images, put reports in the public sphere via personal blogs,” as mentioned by Janey Gordon, 2007.

 The recent incident at the ‘Creamfields’ music festival hit news lines last night, however this footage presented through the media was merely abstracted from ‘raving’ young citizen journalists themselves. Despite how or where you viewed the footage, one conclusion could be drawn; the man was a lunatic so to speak. This, although, is beside the point. The importance of this event highlighted just how participatory citizen journalism can lend itself to numerous perspectives, where at the festival individuals used their mobile phones alike to the London bombings, and filmed/photographed iconic footage from different angles and planes, which by no means can be considered professional/accurate accounts, although as a whole they contribute to citizen journalism’s unique authenticity.

So it only seems necessary that I leave you with two things; citizen journalistic extracts from the iconic London Bombings and the somewhat ‘less iconic’ incident at the Creamfields Music Festival, just as a demonstration of how I believe these amateur accounts in the scheme of things encourage participation and assist in producing a well rounded argument from both a professional and recreational outlook, as editor of the Brownsville Herald, Rachel Benavidez mentions, “it’s vital to engage a community that wants to have more ownership of their local media”.

(Source: Patty Hodapp, 2010)

 (Source: Mirror News, 2012)

(Quick Edit: 10/5/2012)


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