Week 3 -What is the role of the citizen?  

Posted by Valinka in ,


1. Online Newsgathering – Ch 4 Citizen Journalism and Audience-Generated Content by Stephen Quinn and Stephen Lamble

2. Journalism Theory in Practice
Ch 3 A Return to Practice: Reclaiming Journalism as Public Conversation by Michael Meadows
Ch 11 Putting the Public Back into Journalism by Angela Romano and Cratis Hippocrates

Human always want to be listened to. There is nothing more interesting for people than having other people listening to what they have to say. From as early as ancient Greece, ways of communicating ideas and opinions were invented to allow the public voicing their thoughts. Euripides expressed his realistic views on slave and female through his playwrights.^ Demosthenes, a Greek orator who lived around 400 BC spoke in public assemblies to protest about politics and tyrants.^ Hortensia, one among the few female Roman orators, spoke in public gatherings during Triumvirate era to defend the female rights.^

Two millenniums later, people have invented even more ways to pass ideas, opinions and information. The most groundbreaking is probably the internet. It provides platforms such as websites, blogs, social networking sites, and even micro-blogs for people to express themselves.

However, these personal opinions by ordinary people should never be considered as news. As defined by the Oxford Dictionary, news is 'noteworthy information, especially about recent events'. While journalism is about presenting facts objectively. How many blogs or twits (short messages in Twitter) by everyday people are actually informational and/or without personal opinion?

Websites with audience-generated content, such as YouTube and Wikipedia, is highly questionable as the contents are usually bias, based on personal experience (not based on research). Especially in YouTube, the contents by everyday people that are newsworthy are more often than not, coincidental. Just like what happened during 9/11. The videos of the first hit published in YouTube were by tourist who were shooting themselves.

On the side note, there is something awkward in the phrase 'Reclaiming Journalism as Public Conversation'. First of all, to 'reclaim' means something has been before that need to be again.
Secondly, conversation is an exchange of thoughts or ideas, which means it must be a feedback. While most of journalism is a one-way conversation.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 23, 2011 at Monday, May 23, 2011 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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