Saturday, April 23, 2005

Citizen journalism grows, unsurprisingly gets more complicated

Well, the "citizen journalism" movement seems to be catching on, a little bit at a time at some various places around the web. (In a nutshell, it's a movement to combine the ethics and professionalism of traditional journalism with the excitement and power of amateur blogs.) Unsurprisingly, those who are first embracing the idea are already starting to run into problems.

First, a frustrating article from Wired: How is finding it much harder to exist than they expected. The problem? Who knew that such things as confirming sources and maintaining authorial neutrality would be so difficult to achieve? Yes, I know, it's hard to believe, but journalists actually learn a few things while in journalism school, that people not in journalism school don't know!

And second, an encouraging article from Chris Nolan at the media watchdog site Pressthink: How the web is encouraging the creation of stand-alone journalists. Stand-alone journalists, Nolan is quick to point out, are not bloggers; they are instead people who are simply using the power of blogging tools to deliver traditional journalism (and all that comes with that - confirmed multiple sources, an objective voice, etc), directly to their audience, without the need of a media organization to actually distribute this journalism. He argues that these will be the real saviors of citizen journalism; the freelancers, the self-employed, the unemployed, and all those other formally-trained journalists who will bring a sense of ethics and professionalism to all those amateur citizens who wish to be reporting "the news." Anyway, both articles are fascinating; anyone with a fellow interest in citizen journalism should check them both out.