Citizen journalism

Not more than a year ago, if I talked with my friends about blogs, not many of them were interested in. Only geeks blogged; “normal” people didn’t. It was so hard to explain what it meant by blogging. An accurate definition has yet to be defined. However, everyone has a blog by now, so we don’t really need to explain anymore. Really, everyone “blogs” now. Big thanks to tools like “evhead”:evhead.com ‘s blogspot.com and Yahoo’s 360 which make blogging as easy as using Word. As blogs become popular, a lot of interesting things have happened. Newly weds blog about their romantic honeymoons; new mums blog about their great babies; sexy girls blog about how sexy they are; CEOs blog about the next big thing, etc. Almost everyone has something to say.

However, what really interests me is the birth of citizen journalism. Citizen journalism did exist before. People have been doing that for long, however, the term had not become something which did not need explanation. I believe this term will become very popular soon, just like blogs.

So what citizen journalism means? I found few definitions from the web.

From “answers.com”:http://www.answers.com/citizen%20journalism#copyright

bq. News and commentary from the public at large. Using Wiki sites and blogs, anyone can contribute information about a current event. Also known as “collaborative citizen journalism” (CCJ), “grassroots media” and “personal publishing,” the concept behind citizen journalism is that many volunteers help to ensure that the information is more accurate than when it is being reported from only one source.

From “Wikipedia”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_journalism

bq. …is the act of citizens playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information… The intent of this participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires…

One can go with a great length to argue about the benefit and the limit of citizen journalism, and I tend to believe it is a good thing because of its grass-roots bottom-up approach. It offers another easy-to-access information channel to have a good understanding of our complex “multiple-truth life”:http://philip.greenspun.com/panda/suck.

Recently, you probably heard about APEC CEO Summit 2006 in Vietnam[1]. All major news media channels mentioned it. All major newspapers said it was a successful event. I asked people in Hanoi about it, everyone said it was, indeed, a successful event. But besides all the good things, I also want to hear about “bad” things. Surely, for a such big event, there must be something went wrong. There must be mistakes; no one is perfect, and Hanoi ,even though was well-prepared, is not experienced in organizing big events. Well, I did not have to wait long to see the benefit of citizen journalism. Some volunteers “blogged”:http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-zhl9P7E9bqV9Zo.faV3bBrrG0Hc-?cq=1&p=1161[2] about all sort of mismanagement problems they encountered during the event. It is good to consider things from all angles. This particular experience convinces me that citizen journalism will play a important role in shaping up public opinion.

fn1. This is a repost, I wrote this few months ago when the site running textpattern.

fn2. The site was closed down for some reasons. Very bad.

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