Citizen Journalists catch Sandy!

The capability to inform the world about something is now possessed by every individual thanks to the extraordinary growth of social media and rapid technological development and this has led to the new dimension that is citizen journalism. The public’s ability to analyse, report and spread news through their phones and the internet gives them much more freedom and opportunity in determining how news is treated and ultimately gives them the title of prosumer. Citizen journalists are made when they sharing their footage, opinion or recounts of events through social media allowing for collective intelligence.

 ‘Citizen journalism, which often builds on, debates, and critiques the published reports of mainstream journalistic organisations, can also be seen as a form of collaborative filtering – sifting through the vast amount of information now available in online environments in order to discover the most relevant, important, or useful information ’  (Bruns, 2007)

For example, in 2012 Hurricane Sandy hit the US and caused much destruction and thanks to the thousands of people posting on Instagram, we knew the extent of Sandy and her effects. New York Times reported that users were sharing 10 photos with the #Sandy hashtag every second. Due to this upsurge in Sandy related posts, the website Instacane founded and documented Hurricane Sandy through Instagram pictures tagged under #sandy and #hurricane. Images such as the following were posted.

This new form of journalism which has no restrictions to adhere to and allows ‘journalists’ to take any angle on a story and immediately share it is a major reason behind the slowly diminishing traditional journalism and its forms of news delivery systems such as newspapers. Despite this though, it allows for advancement and yes issues such as determining fact from fiction arise but so does the perspective count and this very notion allows people from all around the world to tell their story and continues to shape how we see the world.


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