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Communications & Media
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Citizen Journalism: History of Communication (Essay Sample)


For this final substantive assignment, you will write a short paper responding to one of the 5 questions listed in this document. This assignment is in place of a more traditional final exam, and is intended to compliment the grasp-of-facts knowledge tested by the reading check quizzes. In the short paper, you will be asked to consider a broader theme or topic, and make an argument based on your understanding of the material more holistically. You may pick the question that most appeals to your interests. There are no right or wrong answers per se – instead, you will be graded based on the quality of your argument, your connection to the material covered in the course, and your use of sources to back up the argument you make. The paper must be 3-5 pages long excluding the cover page and references – meaning that the content of the paper will be no less than 3 full pages, and should not break on to a sixth – and conform to all formatting rules discussed below. Note: in the syllabus this is described as a 3-4 page paper. I have increased the upper limit so that students who make a more detailed argument are not forced to cut it down unnecessarily. The lower limit of 3 full pages is unchanged, and it is entirely possible to earn a full grade with a 3-4 page paper if planned, considered and written well. Papers must cite a minimum of 3 sources, at least 2 being from non-class sources (you may cite class lectures and/or any of the assigned readings, but you must use other sources as well. This can be library texts, or online readings from credible sources (i.e. academic journals, university web sites, newspapers). Personal web sites, blogs, Wikipedia and other open sources should not be considered credible. If in doubt, ask.


Citizen Journalism
Institution Due Date
Citizen Journalism
Explain what is meant by citizen journalism, and what it contributes to traditional forms of journalism. Is it a positive or negative phenomenon in your opinion, and why? Give two explanations/justifications to support your opinion. Also, identify one explanation/justification for the opposing side, and offer a counter-argument.
In a world where everyone has access to the Internet, it seems impossible to offer people news from a single or traditional sources. According to the Internet World Stats, there are 4.4 billion Internet users in the world today (this figure is as of June 30th, 2019). The implication of the above is that many people have access to the data that is shared on a daily basis in the world today. One technology that took the world by storm is the advent of smartphones. People document, tell whole stories and even create new ones using smartphones. These stories are shared around the world and others end up creating movements with billions of people behind it. For example, the #metoo movement which ended up creating a wave that shook the entire world. “Today, it is estimated that more than 5 billion people have mobile devices, and over half of these connections are smartphones” (Taylor and Silver, 2019). What this means is that there are more than 2.5 billion potential news sources in the world today. These independent sources of news are what is termed as citizen journalism. Citizen journalism “involves private individuals, who are normally the consumers of journalism, generating their own news content” (Rogers, 2019). However, the majority do not do what traditional journalists do which could entail analyzing news stories, collecting different sides of the story, etc. The majority simply take what they can find and post it for others to see and possibly react. However, in spite of the above, citizen journalism is indeed a great addition to the world today. So, this article seeks to build on the notion that citizen journalism is a great tool in society today.
First of all, before delving deeper into the issue of citizen journalism, it is crucial to explain how citizen journalists work and the forms they take. There are two instances of citizen journalism. The first one includes collaborators. These individuals work together with traditional or professional journalists. Some of the ways in which they work together are through the videos they share and their take on matters that involve the public. Professional journalists are currently getting a lot of help from the public who are actively involved in the news stories. The second group involves independent individuals who operate on their own. These individuals often run blogs or have their websites which they use to tell stories that they believe matter to the general public. Some of these individuals also have YouTube accounts where they share their takes on matters they believe to be of national interest.
The first reason why citizen journalism is a great addition to society today is that it helps to promote free speech. Often, the public gets sidelined and takes a back seat on matters that affect them on a daily basis. However, citizen journalism offers them a voice to speak out against what they feel is against the good of their countries and their futures. In the past, traditional media had the privilege of deciding what matters to the public and this privilege was often abused. The media houses would decide what is important and share

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