Citizen Journalism Weaknesses

With the rapid increase of social media, we have been given a way of communicating, gathering and distributing news to others. “People without professional journalism training are using modern technological tools to publish information” (Jewitt 2009, p. 231).

With no limit on who can be a citizen journalist, it can be lead to inaccurate stories and events being distributed. Stories can often be opinionated, biased, incorrectly conveyed and captured, and in many cases, there is only a limited audience.

Qualified journalists stand by a code of ethics, which must be strictly followed and respected by. In contrast to amateur journalists, who do not have any rules or regulations which they must abide by. Therefore, there can be a lack of professionalism and trust.

Factual events and information is given to the news stations and governments for professional journalists to distribute, giving them credibility. Stories from citizen journalists can often be opinionated, biased and unreliable.

Stories can easily be conveyed and gathered incorrectly. This can occur from being simply in a kind of ‘blind spot’; you might be standing on the wrong angle or facing the wrong way. You could be completely missing what’s going on in that ‘blind spot’ or behind you. Therefore, stories can be misinterpreted to the public wrong or with missing pieces.

Unlike professional journalism, which is internationally broadcasted, citizen journalism can have a limit of who the audience is. Some stories and posts “may be very narrow in its potential reach” (Jewitt 2009, p. 231).

For example, only the people that are following your blog posts or twitter pages are going to see your post. Inserting links to the post can allow more people to come across the post, but will you be reaching enough people, as many as you’d like? Will your message be seen quickly enough? Will it be heard?

“Some of which may have the potential to break international news events to the public” (Jewitt 2009, p. 231).

In the article attached below are a few examples of when citizen journalism has gone wrong, causing chaos and an uproar within the community. One example within the article relates to a twitter user who posted about ripping up ballot votes for Donald Trump. The effect on which his lie/joke had on the media, “subsequently got picked up by both Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh, infecting millions with a spectacular false rumor” (Singal 2016).

‘Citizen Journalism’ Is a Catastrophe Right Now, and It’ll Only Get Worse

@randygdub tweet goes viral during Trump’s election

How many times have you found yourself reading an article or blog post about an event, major or particularly insignificant; or information that you later found to be completely incorrect?


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