Journalism is at war.
War against the citizens and their iPhones.
Our world has had a technological shift. What was once a simple Nokia has now turned into a bite sized computer, formally known as the iPhone. All is becoming instantaneous and viral, social media platforms such as twitter are becoming a catalyst for citizen journalism. This immediacy is what is giving individuals the freedom and power to ‘free’ the truth.
Although it is this ‘immediacy’ that is attaching an unethical stigma to this genre of journalism.
Citizen Journalism plays the game of being in the right place at the right time. The ability to capture a natural disaster at the time of its occurrence, can be vital for a current story and sold to media companies for thousands of dollars. This rises the issue of privacy and consent. For example Daily Mail Australia published a story in February of 2015, capturing an affair occurring in an office complex between two colleges. Photos were captured and this issue was discovered virally, while the couple were displaying public indecency the various tweets and photographs breach personal privacy. Citizen reporting detracts reputation of ethical journalism.
The professional nature of journalism is blurred to the inconsistency and unreliable nature of citizen journalism. This genre is more inclined to reflect an individuals opinion and in its nature lacks credibility. In an article by BloomBerg Business, it highlights the uprisings in Syria and raises the point that “news coming from Syria has been altered by activists“. Awareness is vital in a war stricken country although this does not excuse truth; “The video journalist who took the video admitted he altered it and said he did so to raise awareness“. While citizens urge for aid, alteration of pivotal information has the instant ability to cause an uprising.
Citizen journalism is empowering society to help professionals and raise awareness, although its lack of gatekeepers often fail to respect the ethics of journalism.