It is not possible for TV crews to be on location each time there is breaking news.
Citizen journalism is a new concept of journalism where members of the public contribute to reporting news. Its popularity is increasing on broadcasting stations, newspapers but most of all, the internet.
The internet is an extremely powerful source of information; its interactive levels are not only nationwide but worldwide.
Because people are able to publish virtually anything on the internet in the instant of a click, citizen journalism has become widespread and more accessible. Popular examples of citizen journalism on the internet include blogs, online diaries, U-tube and Wikipedia.
This form of journalism comes with many advantages for both the general public and media outlets. With this in mind, many media outlets worldwide have come to realize the importance of citizen journalism and freely advertise for people to send in footage and pictures of events or small accounts of anything they may have witnessed.
It is not possible for TV crews to be on location each time there is breaking news. For this reason it is becoming increasingly common for the media to work with citizen journalists; a significant amount of the footage which media outlets obtain is from citizen journalists. In this respect, citizen journalists have become of much value to media outlets because of the first hand information they are able to capture.
Despite the benefits, there are reservations about the concept of citizen journalism. Since the rules and regulations pertaining to media ethics that are implemented in newsrooms don’t apply for citizen journalism, the chances of inciting, causing offense and damage as well as misinforming the public increases.
Citizen journalists sometimes put their own lives in danger while attempting to capture first hand footage. In addition to this, they lack media training and as a result are not aware of any laws which they may be breaching either at the time of capturing footage or releasing information to the public or media outlets.
With the advancement of technology it becomes seemingly inevitable for citizen journalism to increase. Media outlets benefit greatly by broadcasting well informed news with effective and accurate imagery and footage.
However the term ‘freedom of speech’ is a democratic one which many believe they have the right to, despite this, the extent to which citizen journalism should be allowed is still a controversial issue.