Hello again, gentle readers (sorry, it’s too funny not to continue using!). Welcome to the second installment of what is becoming a fast growing, long running commentary on Citizen Journalism. If you will recall from our last meeting, citizen journalism is when average people with no journalistic training go out and report the news or capture news worthy events with their newfangled camera/video phones and send it to news stations or post it to their own new and social media platforms (this message brought to you today by The MagaBlog, two citizen journalists’ venture into the social media news world! Well, not just two anymore, we have a staff being put together! More on that later…)
In today’s installment, gentle readers, we will be taking a brief look at how citizen journalists and professional journalists can work together to report the news. With journalists unable to be everywhere to cover everything at every possible minute, citizen journalists are becoming a bigger part of professional journalism than many realize. Content produced by the people formerly known as the audience is making its way to the newspapers, websites, and broadcasts in the form of quotes, pictures, videos, and more. Now then, gentle readers, let us take a look at a case study: The Hudson River Plane Crash.
The first I heard of the crash was on Twitter, via a twitpic that later became one of the most used images of the crash to be used. The New York Times used it as their front page photo. But, in a story the Hudson River crash, all a Tweet can do is say, “Plan crashed in Hudson River!” or “Holy $#!+ there’s a plane in the Hudson!!!” It does not satisfy human curiosity as to what specifically caused the plane to crash, what passengers’ reactions were, how bystanders reacted when it crashed, what the pilot was experiencing when it landed in the Hudson, etc… These are all things told to readers in a story-telling format found in newspapers or broadcasts from interviews and research done by professional journalists.
Bloggers and Tweeters don’t have the means to talk to city police or the FAA about the crash, both of which are important to a story like the Hudson crash. What tweets and citizen journalist blogs can do is spark readers’ interest about the event, which leads them to searching news sites and watching channels like CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, etc… to get more information.
I think that in the future, people will begin to see more of this—citizen and professional journalists working cohesively to keep the world informed. What about you, gentle readers. What have you to say on the subject?