Jay Rosen believes, “A journalist is just a heightened case of an informed citizen, not a special class“. I could not disagree more. While it is an obvious fact that the way in which we receive our daily news today, is extremely different from 30 years ago, the reliable source in which we get it, remains the same – a journalist.
Yes, I understand that more and more social networking sites are incorporating news, they do not however, replace a journalist. Mark Luckie discusses in the video (below) about how Twitter is simply a source of information as they “have no editorial staff and therefore no filters” whereas a journalist’s role is “to be that filter“. Furthermore, the information that we receive from such sites as Twitter cannot always be considered reliable as it is instantaneous and not researched. I simply see it as a resource not a news piece. However, the global uprising of the citizen journalist has made me slightly unsure about the security of a journalist’s role and begin to question the future role that a highly educated journalist could have if Twitter and other online medias have when it comes to presenting news.
This is where my argument sways. I like to agree with Andrew Marr when he says that citizen journalism is “fantastic at times but it is not going to replace journalism“. But realistically, “acts of journalism can be performed by anyone” and that we must consider journalism to be an “ecosystem” (Jeff Jarvis – video) Most people have a smart phone of some sort and are connected to one or more social medias. From this significant increase in the ubiquitous connectivity, it is somewhat effortless to begin producing your own news content and put a journalist out of a job. The classic example of traditional media being slower than social media was when an earthquake hit America in 2011.
My main concern with the rise of citizen journalism is the lack of authority, experience and prestige. When a major newspaper reports on Global Warming, more people are accepting of the news and believe what the journalists have written because of the assumed prestige of the paper and the level of authority that they give is similar to parental authority – if they say that it is true, then it must be. Conversely, a citizen journalist with their smartphone, on the street, reporting that Global Warming is true, can be pushed aside as they have not yet established authority.
I have come to be a fence-sitter again and believe that citizen journalists and traditional journalists should collaborate so as to “add to what traditional…[journalists] are doing and not take away”. It also has the potential to add to the authenticity of a particular news story as “the passion of ordinary men and women to tell the kinds of extraordinary stories” can finally be heard on a global level.