Citizen Journalism can be traced back tothe later part of the twentieth century, these new form of journalism refers tocollections of terms as citizen, activist and public journalism, and all theseterms points at journalism having another agenda other than news production asa commodity to be sold. According to research and study, citizen journalism beganin the USA, in the last decade of the twentieth century, because of the stridesmade in corporate news media and the lack of trust in a journalists at the time(Jay, R. 2003). In many countries the industrial news media is faced with corporatizationand commercialization which remains an issue, same as the control of media bypolitical interests. Abiodun et al. (2011,p. 11), shared more light on the discussion about citizen journalism, where hesaid:Citizen journalism is journalism ofthe people, by the people, and for the people.
It is the kind of journalismthat demystifies the practice of journalism, and makes it an all-comers affair.It is that kind of journalism that tends to make everybody the Source and theReceiver; the Encoder and the Decoder at the same time. It is that kind ofjournalism practice that purports to include everybody. (Abiodun 2011, p11). Citizen journalismWhen we look at thephrase ‘citizen journalism’ which is widely floated and unsteadily defined, JayRosen (2006) referred to ‘the people’ as ‘citizen journalists’, thisillustration is loose as far as citizen journalism has to do with all forms ofpublic engagement and response to the news. Citizen journalists is characterized as ‘news-producingconsumers’, and also in opposition to professional journalists as’competitor-colleagues’ (Deuze 2007: 122). These definitions have not really explainedwhat citizen journalists does, or whether there is a striking difference fromother forms of journalism and over the last two decades, citizen journalism hasbeen used to signify different ideas.
Originally citizen journalism was referredto as groups of citizens in their own communities reporting on events using theinternet, something the increasingly corporatized and commercialized press failedto do. Also it can be referred to people providing media content to other, moreformal, such as the provision of video footage of events even though it is distinguishedcommonly as user-generated content. According to Bowman and Willis (2003) and DanGillmor (2004a), a new phase of citizen journalism came into circulationat the beginning of the twenty-first century. However, despite the specificityof the circumstances, the phrase citizen journalism caught on and was presentedas both a threat and possible saviour of mainstream, commercial, and professionaljournalism.
Allan and Thorsen(2009) discussed in their book of the same tittle the forms of citizenjournalism: citizen newsgathering, blogs and implicitly, something differentfrom ‘corporate’ news ventures. The literature covers all, from people making commentson stories or responding to polls (Lewis etal., 2010), to news facts and figures furnished by the public to mainstreamnews body (Allan and Thorsen, 2009), to personal blogs, to a maturely controlledprofessional news body which exist alongside with mainstream news (Bowman andWillis, 2003).
For the purposeof this paper, the definition by (Bowman and Willis, 2003) is used, whichstates that: The act of a citizen, or group ofcitizens, playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzingand disseminating news and information. The aim of this participation is toprovide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant informationthat a democracy requires (Bowman and Willis, 2003 p6). This identifiescitizen journalism strongly around the area of activism, and confines of theroles of not just user-generated content collected, but also has to do with productionand distribution of the news collected.
Many citizen journalists see themselvesas citizen activists, thereby putting self into the story. In some cases, theyare at the ‘wrong place at the right time’, take for example the event orhappenings of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. People that were caught up inHurricane Katrina emailed pictures and videos taken using their mobile phones tobig names in the mainstream media like CNN and the New York Times, even to dedicatedcitizen news sites taking into consideration that journalism is usually not theirmain occupation, and only few get signed check for their efforts.
Citizenjournalism can also be said according to research, as more of sharing news horizontaland conversational, which is “always unfinished. Control of information is nolonger business as usual, meaning it is not been controlled from the top, nowlots of readers are becoming citizens, reporters and journalists. Anytimecitizen journalism is been discussed, champions such as Dan Gillmor and JayRosen, acclaim it as the most democratic form of journalism, because, when welook at it from global vantage point, anyone with access to the internet caninfluence agenda of choice in the news. The model of Citizen Journalism isinteractional because it emphasizes the two-way communication process betweencommunicators.
In other words, communication goes in two directions: fromsender to receiver and from receiver to sender. This circular process suggeststhat communication is ongoing (West and Turner, 2004: p11). Principles of Citizen JournalismSince the discoveryof the Internet, citizens have contributed to journalism activities with littleor no professional training or idea. This was made possible by differentvarieties of networking technologies like chat rooms, mobile computing, etc.
Lasica(2003) was able to classify media for citizen journalism into the following category:Ø Audience participation: – This has to do withattaching the users’ comments to news stories, personal blogs, video footages andphotos captured with personal mobile cameras, or local news composed bycommunity residents. Ø Independent news and information Websites: -This is about the reports of Consumer take for example the Drudge Report.Ø Full-fledged participatory news sitesØ Collaborative and contributory media sites forexample Slashdot.Ø Other kinds of “thin media”. (Mailing lists,email newsletters).Ø Personal broadcasting sites such as (KenRadio).
Public journalism From generalresearch and study about public journalism, it can be seen as a phrase with itsorigin linked to American, in as much as the ideology and operations thatestablished it are not. Public, or civic, journalism isjournalism that has explicitly abandoned the ideology of objectivity orneutrality and has become engaged in civic life, and especially in the defenceof democracy. As with other forms of citizen and activist journalism, publicjournalism is responding to a specific set of circumstances: thecorporatisation of the media, and its perceived subsequent move away from thecommunities it serves (Friedland, 2010). Lots of organizationand foundation advocated Public journalism for Civic Journalism, like theKnight Foundation.
Looking at public journalism from another angle it can besaid to be designed as an alternative to commercial or corporate forms ofjournalism, but this is not universal. Rosenberry and St John III, (2010)agrees that public journalism is all about to inform and improve existingjournalistic patterns and openings than to override them. Taking intoconsideration the interest of the Public in public journalism and toinvestigate journalism in the interest of the public, a non-organizational bodywas instituted in 2008 and called ProPublica. It is not constituted as acitizen-journalist organization, well-staffed with experienced professionalinvestigative journalists, if at that its ideals has much in common withcitizen journalism, showing a clear intention on improving and supporting thecivic public sphere. Theoretical understandings For the factthat citizen journalism exist, it poses a theoretical challenge professionallyto the identity of journalists and their field boundaries. The journalismpractice theory has always judged journalism within its surrounding ofpolitical, social and economic factors. Journalism must regularly debate its interactionswith the power creams in a society and, within the new, digitized global environment,all of those considerations remain.
According to Folarin (2005, p. 43), here hesays that the main drive of the theory lies in its demand that the existingbureaucracy as well as commercial and professional dominance in media systemsbe fragmented, thereby creating liberty to media access for all potential consumers.