Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism has done great things for millennial’s and diversified the way we consume news forever. Versatility, mobility and accessibility  are all reasons why citizen journalism is so successful in the spreading of information.  Unfortunately the accesability aspect of it consequently gives anybody an oppurtunity to produce news. All of these bad aspects of citizen journalism are encapsulated by the Boston bombings. Pictures like these

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of the aftermath surfaced immediately. Shortly after the pictures above came self appointed citizen detectives that began raising false suspicions targeted at random event goers. Citizen journalists began depicting pictures with circles highlighting potential suspects for erroneous reasons. This one features a man in a white shirt because he is “suspiciously turned away from the crowd during the bombings.”

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Soon after these photos surfaced everyone joined in and anyone with a backpack became a potential suspect because of such false accusations. A random teen even made it on the front page of a newspaper because a journalists picture featured his backpack. The problem with this type of reporting is in the power storytelling holds, especially in as vulnerable of a moment as the Boston bombings where everybody is looking for details and someone to blame. This need for information is effectively what got these citizens wrong terrorist photos popular, everyone is hungry for information and newspapers/media merely want to report the news as quickly as possible effectively putting them in a vulnerable position for false news. After situations such as these it is impossible to say whose responsible until after a thorough investigation. It is a reoccurring theme after terrible events such as these that numerous people are blamed before the true criminal is brought to light. This happens because people have an inherit need to know whats going on and when it isn’t there they simply fill this void with whatever information they can. This is one of the worst case scenarios with citizen journalism. With that being said, there are plenty of examples of good cases involving citizen journalism. Us citizens unbiased opinions and unintentional appearances in events normally make our stories more transparent and believable among the common man. Such trust is behind the growth of citizen journalisms roll in the global news world. Among other things, citizen journalism is said to be responsible and still fueling the social movement black lives matter in the US. After  numerous videos/reports of police brutality went and continue to go viral via citizen journalism a movement has been born and numerous police stations have been forced to internal investigations because of this. During protests mobile journalists can also go live and spread awareness through live encounters. With all considered citizen journalism has done more good than bad.