Can we just start by saying that Citizen Journalism probably wasn’t even called Citizen Journalism 20 years ago? Did it even exist? Throughout this blog post I want to discuss the differences of past Citizen Journalism compared to the present.
But before we start, we need to figure out where citizen journalism could’ve all started from.
According to Professor Stuart Allan, who is the Professor of Journalism at Cardiff University “The London attacks 10 years ago signalled a decisive turning point in the emergency of a new, collaborative ethos for Journalism. As media organisations relied on mobile phone images to contribute by ordinary citizens, it was clear that news gathering had been recast by technological imperatives.” (The Conversation, 2015)
In saying that, up until the late 90’s and early 2000’s not everyone had a digital mobile phone to take photos on or to even connect to the internet to share news and events like we can today.
Lets discuss the differences of post citizen journalism compared to today:
- Non-digital mobile phones compared to todays Smartphones: Today we can share absolutely anything with the touch of a button. Back then it was the matter of printing or scanning or sending directly to a news source as an image message.
- No social media platforms compared to todays social media platforms: There was no such thing as social media like Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, there wasn’t Wi-Fi, and it wasn’t possible to connect to the internet on a mobile phone. People couldn’t access chatrooms or other platforms to get the news across, the only way to reach the internet was via a computer. whereas today, we can do anything on our phones, they are pretty much treated as our miniature computers.
- Accidental Journalism vs Planned Journalism: Because it was so hard to get news out there to others, a lot of it was accidental. Back then is was harder to reach an audience compared to today. Today we have an entire audience at our finger tips.
- Video Footage and radio talk back was key: According to Mark Glaser from Mediashift, “In the modern era, video footage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the ’60s and footage of police beating Rodney King in Los Angeles in the ’80s were both captured by citizens on the scene. Plus, the rise of talk radio and even the D.I.Y. stylings of cable access TV and ‘zines gave average folks the chance to share their views with a much larger audience.” (Mediashift, 2006).
In conclusion, it just goes to show that Citizen Journalism has been around for a long time, it may have not been as advanced in the past, but it has helped set the tone for today and the future.
See you next post!