This week we studied global news, reporting and the dimensions of social media in citizen journalism.
First I want to clarify what citizen journalism is as “society is changing, as citizen journalism is gaining momentum and becoming a growing phenomenon” (The open news room, 2020). Citizen journalism is the activity of recording or writing about news stories when this is done by ordinary people rather than trained reporters (Cambridge Dictionary, 2020). This means you reading this, has the ability and resources, because of the internet and social media, to report on a news worthy story.
Social media and the internet has had the ability to change the journalism industry. The way stories are reported and watched has been due to the ability for the ordinary citizen to post about and comment on news worthy stories. The internet and the media allow for almost instant news coverage from stories occurring in different countries by mainstream media companies and through the ordinary citizen.
So the questions of whether I believe citizen journalism through social media is good, bad or a bit of both? Why? are posed.
I believe citizen journalism through social media can be helpful and insightful. Let’s take the Black Lives Matter protests and recall how social media was covered with facts and coverage on the event. Our Instagrams and Facebooks, to name only 2 platforms, were covered with pictures of individuals who were live streaming, photographing and videoing the protests along with posting the facts. Our news outlets were filled with coverage using footage taken by their news reporters and with the footage of those present. Citizen journalism has the capacity to benefit us as witnesses can post eyewitness accounts on the internet when they happen or report and send their accounts to the media (The open news room, 2020). On the other hand, the constant overflow of coverage and opinions can and has obscured the importance and the facts of a story. The internet and social media have the power to create false news stories which can mislead audiences.
Having lived in Europe and most specifically in Spain, I decided to do some research to see what the citizen journalism and journalism in general is like in the country.
In 2008 Spain suffered a recession later turning into a depression which ultimately turned into their worst economic, political and social crisis the country had ever experienced. Due to this, Spain’s media, alongside many other sectors suffered (Sierra J, 2015).
“The crisis has impoverished and weakened traditional news media” – Juan Luis Cebrian, chairman of Grupo PRISA.
In 2014, Spain was ranked 35th by World Press Index, Reporters Without Borders, one ranking higher than the previous year and since then has slowly moved up in its ranking. As of 2020, Spain is ranked 29th.
When it comes to citizen journalism in Spain, it is sites such as Twitter, Flickr and Facebook that play a role that allow Spanish citizens to report on news stories. These social media platforms along with blogs such as Soitu.es (paying citizen journalists for stories that appear on the front page) and Bottup.com have taken the phenomenon of ordinary citizens reporting and used their stories as a way or receiving news(Maderazo W, J, 2008).
To sum up, it appears that although the media took a big hit during the 2008 recession,citizen journalism didn’t and rather increased as media companies shut down.
To learn more about any topic spoken about in the blog, I have hyperlinked websites as well as provided a reference list.
Cambridge Dictionary 2020, CITIZEN JOURNALISM | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary, Cambridge.org, viewed 21 August 2020, <https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/citizen-journalism>.
Citizen Journalism: A primer on the definition, risks and benefits 2010, viewed 21 August 2020, <http://www.theopennewsroom.com/documents/Citizen_%20journalism_phenomenon.pdf>.
Citizen Journalism Spreads in Spanish-Speaking World – MediaShift 2008, MediaShift, viewed 21 August 2020, <http://mediashift.org/2008/02/citizen-journalism-spreads-in-spanish-speaking-world060/>.
Cochrane, T, Sissons, H, Mulrennan, D & Pamatatau, R 2013, ‘Journalism 2.0’, International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 22–38, viewed 21 August 2020, <https://www.igi-global.com/article/content/78333>.
Education resources for schools teachers and students – ABC Education 2020, Image, viewed 4 September 2020, <https://education.abc.net.au/home#!/topic/495732/planet-earth>.
Freedom of the Press, Expression, and Information in Spain 2015, Opensocietyfoundations.org, viewed 21 August 2020, <https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/publications/freedom-press-expression-and-information-spain>.
Spain : Far-right breakthrough | Reporters without borders 2019, RSF, viewed 21 August 2020, <https://rsf.org/en/spain>.