Posts Tagged 'citizen journalism'

Citizen Journalism

Update (11/Oct/08): This program is now available (mp4 format) from Al Jazeera’s website.
Click here for the mp4 file (87.0 Mb). End of update.


Al Jazeera (English) features a rather good program called “The Listening Post“. It often reports on the darker side of journalism, such as the media censorship in Egypt or Russia and so on. It also commonly reports on the poo that trickles out of FOX news (forgive the oxymoron). The Listening Post is very much net centred, reporting on the interesting slant or scoop bloggers occasionally come up with and encourages otherwise unknown (but informed opinion) on a number of relevant topics.

It was with some surprise then that about a week and a half ago, it specifically covered what it called ‘citizen journalism’ and that report seemed to downplay and undermine it.

My personal pov is that the mainstream media (MSM) {read: ‘corporate media’} and mainstream journalists have utterly failed to live up to their responsibilities. I believe the MSM should almost never let the word of governments and corporations go unchallenged. It should also tell the stories of individuals as they amble their way through life. I don’t mean as in “Regional newzzz) “, but stories of people affected by big or meaningful events. Such output from the MSM and establishment journalists is as rare as an intelligent front bencher. {Ed: Well ok, maybe not that rare.}

And this is where citizen journalism comes into play. It is helping to fill some of the void created by the MSM. The vast majority of citizens journalists whether they use blogs or news hubs like spidered news, Information Clearing House, Huffington Post, Indymedia etc, adopt a stance that is critical of the establishment, be it the fascist regime of Washington or Democratically elected Hamas of occupied Palestine.

Sure citizen journalists are subject to their own bias, but IMO, it is of such a low degree that it simply isn’t an issue. Those that displaying significant bias usually make no attempt to hide it, not least in part because they simply don’t have to. They want to get their voice out there. They don’t need to rely on corporate subversion funding. When big money sniffs around the web, the result is usually negative. The amount of citizen journalism these days also provides a modicum of checks and balances to citizen based news and any BBC like journo-junk can easily assessed.

Not only is the establishment media brought into disrepute because of economics, but also due to its panderance to the political affiliations of its owner and it’s editors. A citizen journalist doesn’t face financial severance or career limbo should his view and actions relating to world news not agree with the mainstream line.

Therefore, The Listening Post got my goat slightly when it featured those within the MSM trying to pull down the significance, integrity and reportage importance of the citizen. One of them said wtteo: ‘citizen journalists don’t have the filter for quality that the mainstream do’ which really, was a laughable statement.

It’s not all doom and gloom in the MSM. There is the occasional gem (albeit a cubic zirconia) and some critique however tepid does make it through and is welcome. But but for the importance the MSM self-elevates itself to, it’s really is a dematerialising illusory projection.

So journo citz of the world, keep it up! I hope you increase your wonderful efforts.

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