Citizen witnessing.

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Citizen witnessing/participation – During the London riots of 2011 Twitter provided a means of communication between the public and journalists, providing real time reports from the scene. More importantly Twitter enabled other users to provide constant feedback to trouble hotspots or where was next. In my opinion this links to Habermas’s theory of the public sphere, quite a lot.

The collaboration between journalists and members of the public, helped refine the coverage and pin point where trouble was brewing so a reporter could be first on the scene and tell the story from the beginning. However at times information could be fraught, due to some news being reliable and some unchecked, which was a means for spreading panic. Along with the public helping journalists uncover a story, social media was also used by thugs participating in the rioting/looting as to wear to meet or target next. When participating in such a fast moving story, journalists have to be extremely careful in what information is worth pursuing and what is false. Gaz Corefield – journalism student, “speed accuracy and collation from the ground, sifting between rumours and facts. Debunking false rumours, where we felt confident to do so”. This blog claimed huge hits and became a very trustworthy source of information, during an event that was so prone to rumour.

Another way in which the public actively engaged in this matter was through live blog streaming, this was used in particular by The Guardian, which gave a different edge to reporting. Obviously journalists can’t be everywhere and now being an online nation, this offered the chance for the public to post videos, still photos and even add to the blog themselves.

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1 Comment

  1. Your arguments are great as you highlighted both positives (e.g. fast news) and negatives (e.g. accuracy).
    When it comes to false or inaccurate news, I believe it is often the mistakes of the audience rather than the news outlets.
    I strongly believe that the audience has to critically think and inform themselves more about the entire context of an event before they share or retweet claims made by citizen journalists.
    However, having both options – citizen journalism and established news outlets – is a great mixture.

    Liked by 1 person

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