January 28, 2015
By: Kelsey Miller, @kelseymiller300
The quote, “With great power comes great responsibility,” isn’t just helpful for super heroes, but a quote journalists should stand by in their career. Are citizens, however, as aware as professional journalists about what great responsibility comes with having a smartphone?
Citizen journalism is the idea that someone breaks the news that isn’t a journalist. You wouldn’t have heard this term ten years ago, but with the sophistication of smartphone users in the past few years, it’s in our vernacular.
The questions is, should it be considered a form of journalism? In the Stuebenville, OH rape case and the Eric Garner video, it was. Or was it? Is it possible that there was more to these situations than we, as viewers, know about? I am not discounting the authenticity of what happened in these videos, but how long before a person twists a major news story and leads the world astray? Think about it: do you really trust Wikipedia all the time?
False information is put on social media regularly. What distinguishes a false claim from a true claim? It is a lot to expect from people to behave ethically when it comes to what they post on social media or their blog. This means that all forms of citizen journalism must be taken with a grain of salt.
With that being said, without it, cases like Stuebenville or the Eric Garner video wouldn’t have been brought to the surface. Citizen journalism is responsible for exposing the seriousness of rape culture and racism in this nation, something a lot of people like to sweep under the rug. This is only the beginning. What will citizen journalism tell us about our country next?
People are pickier than ever about where and how they obtain news. The Third Annual Social Media News Survey findings, as told in the article, Is Citizen Journalism Good for News Media, put it: “[The survey], conducted by TEKGROUP International in 2012 found that almost 90 percent of the respondents name Facebook and 70 percent name Twitter as their primary source of news and information.”
In addition, 28 percent of respondents get all of their news from social media alone. With staggering numbers like these, it is impossible to ignore the impact of citizen journalism. People trust their peers more often than they trust a journalist these days.
In a world where nothing is fast enough, it would be stupid to not take advantage of the convenience of citizen journalism. Professional journalists are unable to break every story; they aren’t the same super heroes they used to be. The question now is where will journalism be in another 10 years?