Historically what was once accomplished inside the walls of major corporations like NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox has moved outside into collaborative online streets.
The concept of citizen journalism is the everyday citizens taking an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information.
This new way of journalism has found social media as its natural outlet.
Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress, are replacing traditional media outlets including the financial press as in CNBC and Bloomberg. What this new collective media has brought with it is more factual reporting based simply on sheer numbers of people with iPhones and handheld devices able to record, photograph, and distributed news on the spot.
It is no longer a long shot random chance that an unexpected event can occur almost anywhere in the world without someone being there to make a record of the happening. For example, at the moment news reporting served as the platform for the Arab Spring. It served to support and promote a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests, riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began in Tunisia 2010 and continued today in Syria.
After 20 years of declining trust in mass media according to Gallup’s “Americans’ Trust in Media Remains at Historical Low” report, a new era of, if you can see it you can believe it journalism is taking the wiggle room away from interpretation.
Gallup concluded that since 1997 “The same forces behind the drop in trust in government more generally, as well confidence in many U.S. institutions, may also be at work with the media.” They point to major venerable news organizations being caught making serious mistakes. However, their use of former NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams in 2015 that some of his firsthand accounts of news events had been “misremembered” is at best a misdemeanor.
Alternately, since 1997 there has been several major financial calamities leaving the public holding the bag. Starting with dot-com bubble covering roughly 1997–2000. The revelations by government insiders that the Bush administration had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks leading to both the tremendous loss of life and the loss of billions of dollars because the financial markets collapsed.
Add to these memories the financial crisis that was so bad they can only refer to it today by its initials, WFC of 2008-09, and you have much better insight into the reasons for the steady decline in trust by the public in the major intuitions that should protect it like the fourth estate.
With all that in mind, it’s the recycling of the fourth estate and their restructuring to include citizen journalism that is creating a level playing field for those who care enough to follow the news via social outlets. As it stands, it will take the lead of the younger generations to assure citizen journalism’s place because you see it is the Millennials who overwhelmingly get their news from the Internet while the mistrust runs deep for all news media by the older generations.
I welcome any ideas, comments or questions.
While the fact/interpretation ratio has become much smaller in the last ten years, I will take a look at how the line between fact and fiction is still being blurred.
Jack F Cahn @battle4minds