Citizen Photojournalism: Unsustainable Approaches to New Media

verbal_logoRecent technological developments, particularly with regard to internet technology, have dramatically increased access to information and facilitated the proliferation of information sources. The need to instantly access this information and to allow the spread of digital information on the internet has eroded the capacity of professional journalists to create and disseminate news. A significant reason for this is that a new class of journalists – aptly referred to as citizen journalists – have exploited the new medium and the new information age.

Citizen journalists are not professional journalists – they are members of the community who contribute to news production through various types of media, and participate at different levels of the news production process. They may gather, process or disseminate news of all kinds, particularly on the internet using web logs or “blogs.” Their contribution is, however, immediately controversial. In the industry they may be considered a valuable resource for more accessible news, for example the popular CNN iReport function, which relies on news and information from citizen journalists. Others consider their contribution a threat to journalistic standards, and to the industry at large.

I consider that if the growth of citizen journalism remains unchecked, the news industries and consumers accessing the news stand to lose on various fronts. A consequence may be that declining standards of news production will reduce the value and credibility of news made available to the public.

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