Journalism as we know it has changed dramatically and permanently. We no longer get all of our information from the legacy media outlets like newspapers or television and can access news from the Internet. There is a problem with this, though, and that problem lies in the fact that because information is now available to anyone, from anywhere, anyone from anywhere can create this news and content. People without the “authority” to report the news are doing just that.
This opens up worlds of issues, and it always comes back to the idea that the every day person – the average Joe – might be able to upload “news” to the internet, but that this is not real journalism because it wasn’t done by someone with the authority to do it, and that makes it amateur and less professional.
This belief is based on the idea that the legacy media is infallable. That it is edited, fact checked and reported on by professionals. But there are countless examples of times that the legacy media just completely messed up. And there are countless examples of times citizen journalism did an amazing job, capturing sides of a story that journalists just couldn’t. Of course, its a case by case kind of issue.
The live feed of the Ferguson Riots started days before reporters came onto the scene, and have been a major contributing force to it becoming a well-known and highly discussed issue. But after the Boston bombing in 2013, the Reddit community essentially started a man-hunt for people they believed to be behind it all, who had nothing to do with the bombings at all. This Boston Bombing screw up is often referenced in arguments surrounding the debate about citizen journalism.
Then you have major screw ups from the professional legacy media, like when a German Magazine claimed they had found hand-written pages from Hilter himself, published the information, only for it to be discovered they were not. And as recently as a week ago, a FOX news division posted a photo of a fire started during the Baltimore riots, only it was a photo of Venuzula.
My opinion of the whole thing, being a student of journalism?
Legacy media isn’t completely professional all the time, and their word shouldn’t be considered to be the complete and utter truth all of the time. Citizen journalism can be the ramblings of people who don’t have any idea, and it can be pure journalistic gold, and shouldn’t just be dismissed on the basis that a “real journalist” didn’t report it.
I leave you today with a wonderful example of a major racial screw-up from our very own Australian shore, Sunrise host Samantha Armytage congratulating a young girl on being white.