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Author Topic: Smartphones and 'citizen journalism'  (Read 756 times)


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Smartphones and 'citizen journalism'
« on: January 06, 2013, 09:02:47 AM »

Is the ubiquity of smartphones and the resultant explosion in so-called 'citizen journalism' really a positive?

Chris Sanderson

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Re: Smartphones and 'citizen journalism'
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 09:55:48 AM »

Is any fundamental change all positive or all negative? - No, of course not.

Also there remains that large difference in the application of photography between journalism and fine art - but a difference that is shrinking and blurring IMO.

However the technological and social changes are very real. Each of us may choose to take advantage of the changes or ignore them.

I think Richard Harrington has it absolutely right when he suggests in the last two sentences that survival for some may require adaptation.
Christopher Sanderson
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Re: Smartphones and 'citizen journalism'
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 10:25:15 AM »

No, not all entirely negative or positive by any means.  I'd tend to disagree with some of what Harrington feels are the positive aspects; however and I'd actually consider some of them to be negative.  Speed of dissemination is one of his positives.  I see that as largely a negative in the current landscape.  Getting it out first seems to have trumped getting it right.  

I don't really see much benefit to geotagging when it comes to journalism.

He seems to be advocating the use of apps to edit images which, for journalistic purposes is still frowned upon.

I can definitely see mapping features as a good thing and helpful.  But when he gets into sun tables and weather charts as positives in 'citizen journalism' which, I'm considering as spot news - and I think that interpretation is valid given his other alleged benefit of speed of dissemination, I think he's straying fairly far afield from his original thread.

None of this gets at the other big issue that has to do with journalistic integrity and ethics.  A 'legitimate' news outlet may refuse to publish a questionable image or may not publish an image at the request of authorities out of concern for victims or interference with an investigation.  But owing to the available outlets for self-reporting and the extent of disintermediation some of these 'citizen journalists' may end up doing more harm than good.

None of that gets to the other side of the equation that the news outlets, the legitimate ones, are getting access to all this media in the form of photos and video and using it without payment.  Can't really see that as a positive either.  At least not for actual journalists.

Does technology present some positives for journalism?  Sure it does. Harrington does get at one, which is the ability to transfer images to a tablet rather than a laptop which makes the load a bit lighter.  Certainly outlets like Twitter can be beneficial when used properly.  So, most definitely there are positives.  And yes, I think journalists will have to evolve.  I just don't think this particular article comes at the question the right way.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 10:56:32 AM by BobFisher »


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Re: Smartphones and 'citizen journalism'
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2013, 09:59:36 AM »

'citizen journalism' is a great "invention" for the news organisations. Getting loads of coverage and pictures for free from people who are at the right location at the right time. Excellent for them.

Obviously it's not so great for "real" journalists and photographers. People who make a living out of capturing news in words or pictures, as they now face competition from people who, as the article makes clear several times, focuses on "usable" rather than "excellent".

Is citizen journalism good for the consumer of news? We get reduced price and reduced quality. While I lament the deterioration in the quality of pictures, I guess it's not really that big a deal for news stories which are consumed in 5 minutes. But the description of facts, editorial control, bi- (or multi-) partisanship, the accountability of responsible news outlets, etc, they suffer as well. And that may not be good for the news consumer.

As for camera phones - excellent tool.
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