The concept of "citizen journalism" has been done to death already, of course, but two interesting pieces from E-Media Tidbits today shows exactly how the concept really is changing and impacting the media business. The first discusses the stories saying that FEMA is now trying to ban photojournalists from photographing certain images. In an age when so many people have digital cameras and cameraphones, the whole idea that you even could ban such picture taking is ridiculous. At best, all they're doing is encouraging more "amateur" photographers to start taking pictures on their own and spreading them online as quickly as possible. Given typical government (at all levels) blindness to realities on the ground, it really shouldn't be any surprise at all that they would think a simple ban on taking photographs would work. Even more interesting, however, is the concept of victim journalism as opposed to straight citizen journalism. One of the "problems" people have had with citizen journalism all along is the idea that those reporting on events aren't trained journalists, and therefore unable to have the correct objective perspective (which, of course, falsely assumes that professional journalists are able to really be objective in their own right). However, the concept being described as "victim journalism" takes away the idea of objectivity entirely -- and notes that the people actually involved in the event are writing up their own accounts of the event and posting it online. Readers certainly know their bias, but getting the views of participants in an event can make it seem that much more real. The point here isn't that citizen journalism is, in any way, "replacing" traditional journalism, but that it's adding another layer that simply didn't exist on a widescale basis before.
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