Thursday, November 15, 2007

Citizen Journalism

A man was recently tasered to death at a Vancouver airport. Sounds awful, doesn’t it? Wait till you the video!

…wait…what? Who would shoot a video of something like that?

Have you seen the video of Michael Richards (Kramer character on Seinfeld) ruining his career in a night club.

Oh! How about the hotel that was recently imploded? Review of video tapes have led the police to believe someone may have been inside the building when it fell.

Some quick thoughts there, but what do they all have in common? Each of these videos was shot by a citizen. Citizen journalism is becoming a much more common practice. More often now people have video capabilities on their cell phones which they almost always have with them. Digital cameras also have the capability to record and are becoming smaller and easier to carry around in a pocket or purse. With this increase in technology comes more citizen journalism.

Citizen journalism is not something you get a degree in or need any special training for. It is simply a citizen doing the job of a reporter. The three video examples above were all videotaped by someone who just happened to be in the right spot at the right time. They used their recording devices to capture a moment they felt was newsworthy. If Michael Richards had said the same things fifteen years ago there is a pretty good chance he would still have respectable career. Unfortunately someone caught his words on tape and then released that tape to the media for the entire world to see. That image of Richards in the club and the language coming out of his mouth is still very clear all because a citizen decided to record what was happening.

1 comment:

Robbie L said...

I think that it is important for everyday citizens to contribute what they can to news and journalism. I agree with you on that. Journalists are paid to go out and find interesting stories, but like you said there is no way to predict when or where something amazing, tragic, crazy, strange or controversial will happen. Sometimes people do just happen to end up in the right place at the right time. I am willing to bet that a good portion of news starts with people that are not paid journalists but they pass on story ideas from things they hear, see or experience. The entertainment industry also banks on citizen journalism. America's Funniest Home Videos comes to mind. People record an event and something unexpectedly funny happens so they send it in to the show for a national tv audience to watch. The entire show is based on citizen journalism. If people didn't send in their home videos the show would have no material. On a more serious level, many people witnessed the twin towers falling from the streets of NY and took videos and pictures of it before any news stations could get there. This type of citizen journalism was crucial to help us understand this tragic event.