Back in my day

(Made on http://imgur.com)

Now seems to be a very difficult time to get into professional journalism. I have several friends who have given up on the pursuit of studying it due to how few the job prospects seem to be – even more positive outlooks aren’t particularly inspiring. So what’s changed in the world of journalism?

There have been several factors cited for the change, and one of these is the rise of ‘citizen journalism‘. This refers to the ability of the general, untrained public to report news through the use of online media such as blogs or tweets. While it may seem like citizen journalism undermines professional journalism by doing their job for them, Dr. Axel Bruns points out that there are several protections that professional journalists have which citizens don’t in his text ‘News Blogs and Citizen Journalism: New Directions for e-Journalism‘. These include legal protection, funding, and access to key public figures through their association with big news organisations – for the general public, it’s near-impossible to get these things (2009, p. 12).

So citizen journalists cannot fully replace those of professional journalists, but they can definitely help them – for example much of the BBC‘s early coverage of the 2005 London subway bombings came solely from citizen journalists who happened to be on-scene at the time, leading to a quicker reporting time and a first-hand perspective (Bruns 2009, p. 14).

I agree that there’s a time and a place for both forms of journalism, and it seems like a waste to only allow professionals to report the news with the technology we have now. I just hope that it doesn’t lead to a loss of too many jobs, and leads to new professional opportunities for journalism students. I would love to hear what people studying journalism think!

Full article reference:

Bruns, A 2009, ‘News Blogs and Citizen Journalism: New Directions for e-Journalism’, in K Prasad (ed.), e-Journalism: New Media and News Media, BR Publishing, India, pp. 101-126

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