The way that people receive news has traditionally been through channels of journalists who report over newscasts or in newspapers. Over the last few decades this has changed drastically. The birth of widespread internet, technology and social media began this revolution of change. Anyone with a smartphone today can instantly capture a story and begin circulating it within a matter of minutes. The occupation of journalism itself carries an inherent risk; whether citizen or professional. In recent history, professional freelance journalists have been killed, jailed and hurt. Citizens who step up and report in dangerous situations may be opening themselves up to this same danger. While there is possible danger, citizen journalism is worth the risk as almost everyone has the means, it allows for real time coverage and provides a voice to situations where professional journalists may not be available.
The overwhelming use of smart phones and other devices today creates the perfect platform for anyone to be a citizen journalist. Everyday people carry a journalistic tool in their hands; available at the touch of a button. An everyday person being in the right place at the right time to witness a story or event that has not yet reached news media means the actual event can be captured. When Jamal Albarghouti, a student, captured footage of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech on his cell phone, he provided a glimpse of the reality the students endured. “The role of Albarghouti was not only that of eyewitness but also of a citizen reporter who in fact provided a high-quality report for CNN” (Yulianti 262-264). In opposition, Mark Memmott infers that “It i...
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...provide stories and information that otherwise would not be available in today’s media.
All journalists face risk, they often take assignments to dangerous areas and put their lives on the line to bring us news stories which continuously educate and inform the world. Taking the stance that citizen journalism is not worth the risk would be ignoring the benefits of what this type of reporting can bring to the news. It should be noted that while journalism of any sort should never be placed in front of assisting others when applicable, this type of journalism provides a progressive and accepted means of media news coverage today. Citizen journalism will continue to evolve as fluidly and seamlessly as technology. While there should always be an awareness of protecting personal and other people’s safety, the benefits of this coverage outweigh the risks.
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