January 31, 2008

Citizen Journalism...

Like many of you who will probably read this blog, I have been thrashed over the head with various fellow classmates opinions on whether or not citizen journalism is a credible source of information for the past two weeks now. Great.
Now I understand to some this is a relatively new concept, myself included. But from what I gather this is the consensus of the argument:

We live in an age of technology. New products are released daily, products that allow many people of the western world access to snap photos at a whim, record sound and footage in the moment, and upload all of them onto the world wide web in a matter of seconds. Thus, people are more frequently breaking stories, with albiet shaky footage, of natural disasters, crime and punishment, chaos and riots and brit-brit's latest fiasco.
So where does that leave the "real" journalists. You know, the ones who pay the big bucks to go through j-skool, the big whigs who have climbed the career ladder of the news room down at CBC, the ones who bite each and every nail twice to meet deadline? What about them? Insert various high and low brow banter here.

So, where do I stand? Do I even care? Well...to be completley honest I think its grand that everyone wants to be involved in the media process. Look at the world we live in. People have opinions, people have ideas, people are continuously becoming more and more educated, they too needs outlets to voice themselves. If major news corporations wish to provide these, then by all means, allow the people to contribute their stories!

That being said, the level of ignorance many of these citizen contributers uphold, is slightly concerning. And can we really call somone with a camera phone, who has the sheer luck of being in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time a journalist?

These are obviously questions that are still fueling the citizen journalism debate. However, being a second year journalism student, I choose to remain optimistic. The future holds many answers, and I'd be rich if I knew them. So until then, i'm holding out for a compromise between the various levels of journalism. Because, when it comes down to it --who are we to supress peoples opinions?