The ghettoisation of citizen journalism

[Keyword: , , , ]. The ghettoisation of citizen journalism continues, it seems, with the BBC’s announcement of a news programme based entirely on user-generated material. “Your News, which began a pilot run on Saturday,” reports Journalism.co.uk, “will feature stories, features and video proving most popular with viewers on TV and the internet.” This follows the previously reported announcement by Five News that they will pay for viewers’ clips – with possible plans to put it in a “special section” of the news. I’m told the advert requesting this viewer content closely resembles the advert at the end of You’ve Been Framed.

It would be nice to see user content integrated into the newsgathering process. The danger with these devoted sections and programmes is that citizen journalism becomes trivialised as an “And finally” item, or a “Your Views”-style TV letters page. Interestingly, the Five News website has its citizen journalism right on the front page: a sign that online, at least, the viewers are being taken seriously.

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Paul Bradshaw lectures on the Journalism degree at UCE Birmingham media department. He writes a number of blogs including the Online Journalism Blog, Interactive PR and Web and New Media

2 thoughts on “The ghettoisation of citizen journalism

  1. Anonymous

    I’m writing a paper about this so I need some opinions
    Do you think that blogging is journalism? Do you think that it is fair to journalists who earned four year degrees and know the ethics (whether they practice them or not)to be over-ridden by bloggers who claim to have the “real news”? Or do you think that blogging is a more direct source of information rather than reading it from a journalist who may be censored?

    Reply
  2. Paul Bradshaw

    Feel free to email me, but in the meantime here’s my responses:
    Do I think “that blogging is journalism?” Some of it, yes.
    Do I think “that it is fair to journalists who earned four year degrees and know the ethics (whether they practice them or not)to be over-ridden by bloggers who claim to have the “real news”? Or do you think that blogging is a more direct source of information rather than reading it from a journalist who may be censored?”
    Firstly, your question is loaded and badly phrased, giving me only two options, both of which I disagree with. I would disagree that graduates are “over-ridden” by bloggers – in fact any graduate with any sense would be blogging themselves. Bloggers are hardly taking over the news industry, but rather providing an alternative or complementary news service to a public increasingly distrusting of time-starved or lazy journalists who simply rewrite press releases. They are also a great way to hear from people ‘on the ground’, whether that’s people living through the Iraq war, troops fighting there, or police, nurses, teachers and scientists who know more about topical issues than journalists and politicians.
    I can waffle on about this at greater length if you want to contact me directly.

    Reply

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