Citizen journalism

Citizen journalism is the label ecompassing an infinite array of non-professional, grassroots and even for-profit Web-based news organizations.


1. Who is a journalist? Who is a citizen journalist?
Trained journalists usually follow an ethical code of “objectivity,” which means that besides striving to be factual and fair, they also try to remain personally neutral towards the subjects they write about. Citizen journalists, while they also strive to be factual and fair, are not usually neutral on the subjects they write about, and they don’t try to be. They believe instead that the best journalism: A) is a form of popular writing grounded without compromise in verified fact; B) presents news and public issues with an articulated point of view; b) achieves fairness to the facts, to sources, and to readers by fully explaining that point of view while also offering views, ideas, and perspectives other than its own.

Source: Largemouth Journalism Workshops

2. When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, that’s citizen journalism.

Jay Rosen’s PressThink

Citizen journalism creates an explosion of information. As with any explosion, sometimes people get hurt. “Pitfalls of citizen journalism,” San Francisco Chronicle.

Citizen entrepreneurs: Community-focused citizen journalists are producing news sites that rival — and exceed — for profit sites. The Insitute for Interactive Journalism examines how and why.


Review the APME online credibility guidelines, then assess the following sites, or others you discover on your own.

Find two sites that offer specific examples of meeting the APME online credibility guidelines.

Find two sites with specific examples of credibility deficiencies.

Write specific summaries of the meets and deficiencies, including URLs. Be prepared to present those sites to Monday’s class.

Sample sites:

Chicago Talks, a project and product of Columbia College, Chicago.

SourceWatch list of citizen journalism sites.

Project applications: Start pitching project ideas for full Monday discussion.


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