In today’s society, it is becoming harder to define who is classified as a true journalist with the creation of social media and the accessibility of distributing relevant news fast. Are we categorised as noteworthy for sharing information on media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WordPress? I guess it depends on who you ask? Conventional journalists may label the raw thoughts of citizen journalism as ‘degrading’ the news and ‘crudely written’ but the actual audiences who read and religiously follow news from these sites would agree. Let me simply say, we are living in a participative culture and the power is shifting..
It is interesting to note that when breaking down the word journalism; you get journal which is defined as a daily recording of events, similar to a private diary. This restricted concept is represented in the conventional form of journalism which is rapidly decreasing in popularity, where a closed group of Gatekeepers decide what is shown to the public with a ‘that’s the way it was’ approach. One group with the power to decides what we, the audience see.
In our digital era, audiences no longer rely solely on this traditional form of journalism. We embrace social media as a means of broadening our knowledge, surfing a variety of different sources (majority online) which provide news which is relevant to our own individual lives. This has seen the power of the Gatekeepers slowly disappearing as the role of Gatewatchers are becoming more evident, publicly posting when journalist get it wrong.
Today we are educated, non-passive audience members who have the ability to take charge. We can write our own news on what we think is of importance and spread it globally in seconds; challenging the relevance of the news in its corporate form. Media platforms like Skype allow citizen journalists to do this with quality images and sound.
Citizen Journalists are influential to the younger generation who are tech savvy and happy to surf for their news; personal choice is taking over. We live in a digital world where we have the ingredients and the ability to create and collaborate our own news. Anything is possible with the resolution of online social media sites; we can distribute, we can produce, we can share, all in a matter of seconds.