As a reader of news, what do individuals want out of their stories? Is it a detailed description? A personal account? Live in depth coverage? Or audio and video footage? What if someone could report news with all of the above? Granted accuracy and legitimacy is always of high importance but what if it was the only available report, the only available on scene resource. This, friends, is citizen journalism. Having all of these abilities to contribute to mass media news is essential especially in today’s day and age. The resources to some may seem invalid, but in select scenarios the citizen journalist is quite beneficial. This is why Andrew Keen’s statement, in The Noble Amateur, that citizen journalists “simply don’t have resources to bring us reliable news,” and “access to information” is not entirely accurate.
Matt Wisniewski, a citizen journalist, has a video that proves otherwise to Keen’s comments. Matt’s powerful 5 minute video chronicles the Budget Repair Protests at the Wisconsin Capital in Madison. Yes, the news teams can provide what was occurring throughout the day, but they could not provide the perspective that Matt shows inside the capital. This is merely only one example of the citizen journalist being effective. Others include Mr. Glenn Reynolds, the writer for Instapundt. His journalistic ability allowed him and his writings to gain much recognition post 9/11 and in 2004 he was awarded Web Technology’s Media and Journalism award, although he himself was not a news journalist. Citizen journalism has not stopped there. In some instances news stations ask the public for video, photo, or even audio accounts of key events that they want to report on. They accept these from the public; they accept these from the citizen journalist.
Citizen journalists not only contribute to the daily TV news, radio news, newspapers, and web news. They go further, offering different perspectives that the public can relate to. They write on blogs such as Northwest Voice in Bakersfield, California. They send letters to the editor, possibly reinforcing a story, or even countering it. Citizen journalist’s role has changed over the year. Yes, some of their stories and input is not needed, but the citizen journalist is not a person who does not matter. They in select cases are essential in bringing news to the forefront. Sharing news to the public’s ear and eye.