[Keyword: journalism, online journalism, citizen journalism, blogging]. 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.
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