Professional vs. Citizen Journalism
Nowadays, everyone can write their own blog, post clips on YouTube and can be really a journalist paid by news agency. It seems that journalists will lose their job in the coming future. But one thing we need to focus is that being journalists, they have their rules to follow in order to be a professional journalist.
To be professional, journalists should report newsworthy story. So it can gain more attention from the public to know the true and help newspaper’s sales. Another thing is most important. It is objectivity. It is about whether the fact of the news is accurate or not. If not, news will become lies and it hidden the true. It loses the purpose of news. Besides, journalists should be disinterest towards news. That means they cannot involve personal feeling or opinion in news. Also, journalists should find different sources before issuing news report and make sure there isn’t bias on that. Those are the practices and rituals of new writing. Moreover, news should be timely and free from suppress of identities like authority.
However, there are some problems that hinder the profession of journalists. For example, CNN admitted that it had practiced self-censorship in covering the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq in order to ensure continued access after the regime had thrown out other media. CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour also complained of self-censorship during the invasion of Iraq due to the fear of alienating key audiences in the US. There are claims that the media are also avoiding covering stories about repression and human rights violations by the Israeli and Iranian regimes in order to maintain a presence in those countries. (Wikipedia, 2010) So self censorship and selective reporting devastate the objectivity of journalists. On the other hand, recent years, there is a lot of advertorials posted in newspapers and magazine. Those materials are given by advertisers. Indeed, public may not know very well about those things are created by product company. If there is fraud of the advertorials, people may blame newspaper publishers they are being not professional at all.
In contrast, to be citizen journalists, they can report news with newsworthiness like Bus Uncle. But when it comes to the point of objectivity, I don’t think citizen journalists can finish this task. As citizens nowadays mainly are bloggers, they write blog to express their feeling, daily matters or comments about news. It involves personal feelings, bias and judgments in their blogs.
What’s more, citizen journalists don’t have huge capital, human resources, equipments and technology to report, record, transmit and edit news. So there is a gap for citizen journalists to be professional journalists. On top of that, professional journalists are hired by news agency. Their social roles are reporting news and following the code of conduct by the company. Also people will expect professional journalists reporting the true. It is the social norm for journalists. Nevertheless, citizen journalists are not bounded by that. So they are free from social norm and people will not expect much at them. Also, they are not hired by company. So they don’t need to follow the code of conduct.
All in all, I am doubt about citizen journalists can be professional journalists. However, there is a way for two parties to cooperate like citizen journalists can get the first hand information and give to journalists who are profession in reporting to report the news. Thus, they perform different functions. At the end, they are helping each other but not completing. I think no one can predict how journalism will be in the future. It lets time tell what will happen.