Posts Tagged ‘Citizen journalism’

Citizen Journalists VS Traditional Journalists

April 18, 2009

With theorists of mass media regard news as unsatisfactory and the wide application of the internet and blog, some argue that bloggers and citizen journalists could generally replace journalists in the production of news.

However, though the use of blog has dramatic influence on news, it still cannot totally replace professional journalists.


The most significant point that blogger cannot replace journalists is the content of the news stories. Most bloggers do not report news on their own, while they usually write comment based on the  news produced by professional journalists. There are five basic factors of news, namely, what, where, when, who, and why. It is impossible for bloggers to cover all the five factors in their articles.


Take the Hudson airplane event as an example. In this breaking news, citizen journalists(eye-witness) could post where(Hudson), when(the time of the accident) and who(pilot and passengers) immediately through blog or Twitter.  Nevertheless, when the news moves to a part of ‘News Analysis’, it is difficult for citizen journalists to answer the question of how and why. By contrast, professional journalists have chances to attend press release and interview the officials from airline company, read related reports, and interview participants. Then, journalists can finish a completed  news story.


News are data. Citizen journalists may have opportunity to be in the right place at right time and provide raw data. However, this is not enough. News analysis requires historical, theoretical, economic, political and sociological knowledge.


Moreover, the style of writing between bloggers and journalists is different. Plenty of blogs is a platform for bloggers to deliver with opinion. But express personal thoughts is not the same as objective news reporting.


Compared with the unexpectedness of breaking news, predictability is an essential skill of reporting news. Journalists could know some newsworthy events will happen at a particular time and place, in order to prepare for the equipment and report it in real time. Professional journalists always write diary to record predictable news, such as political issues ( American election, G20 meeting), social and sporting occasions ( the Nobel price-giving, the Olympic Games). Some institutional sources of news are from the bureaucratic organisations. 


Another advantage of journalists is expertise.  Journalist who have worked for the largest news organisations several years, gained lots of writing and interview experiences. Therefore, no matter it is an international news or a local story, they could report it in a high quality because they know the subject. Meanwhile, the job of editors in the news organisations is also necessary. The accuracy of the news is guaranteed. Journalists and editors are applying the same principles, write in an objective and impartiality way, avoid inappropriate pictures and illegal information.Impartiality and 99objectivity are proposed as the result of the journalists’ expensive education and professional training.


One sense of professionalism is someone who earns their living from an occupation. Journalists get paid from their writing. On the contrary, many of bloggers could take both roles of consumers and producers of news. On the one side, bloggers may become citizen or accidental journalists  in certain circumstances to provide information others cannot. On the other side, blogger will not regard journalist as an occupation and earn money.


Nevertheless, the point must be noticed is that the internet and blog help journalists to improve their work. Being  professional in the 21st century, journalists should have the ability to work for alternative press and the internet. At the same time, they should be able to write in opinion-driven formats especially for blog. Bloggers and citizen journalists supplement the work of professional journalists.