Citizen journalism in the news

Posted by kiwanja on Aug 17, 2006

Citizen journalism has been hitting the news lately, accelerated by the use of mobiles and blogging during the latest events in the Middle East. Something which has been around for some time is starting to become more and more mainstream by the day. Sadly, most seems to be centred around world trouble spots, but therein lies it's strength.

In the UK, the London bombings of July 7th last summer saw the sudden emergence of citizen reporters, most using their mobiles to make short videos of the immediate aftermath. No news teams in the world, however well equipped and connected, could ever have got this footage. The BBC were inundated. According to one of the News Editors that morning:

"One important source of information not properly exploited by us on July 7 was 'the public'. Much has been made of the fact that citizen journalism came of age a year ago. News 24 made very good use of eye-witness accounts live on air but we were unprepared for the volume of material from viewers and listeners on that day. From blogs to mobile phone photos, we simply couldn't cope quickly enough with the vast amount of information and the number of pictures flooding into the BBC"

Now, Sky News have a dedicated 'public' slot each evening, offering people the opportunity to text, email and/or hit the screens via webcam to give their thoughts and perspective on the news. Perhaps not 'citizen journalism' in the true sense of the word, it's another example of how mainstream news, the general public and emerging technology are all rapidly converging. Fellow MobileActive's such as Erik Sundelof are 'founding techies' in this revolution.

According to a recent article on the Pocket Picks website - playfully titled "Look Mum, I'm on the news" - citizen journalism is not going away and it's almost certainly going to change the face of news as we know it. And don't we know it...

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