Can News Organizations Train Citizen Journalists?

from the embracing,-not-fighting,-the-change dept

With all the talk recently about “citizen journalism” and getting everyone to report on news events as they occur, many in the traditional media are dismissing these citizen journalism efforts as being “not journalism” or just plain “bad.” Generally, though, those who are responding this way are probably doing so because they actually feel threatened by these efforts. A smarter move might be to embrace the efforts, and while recognizing that many of the citizen journalist reports will have problems, look for ways to help improve them. The folks at E-Media Tidbits are suggesting that traditional news organizations actively look into training so-called citizen journalists. They can complain all they want about the quality, but this is an opportunity to actually help improve that quality. The idea is that a “trained” citizen journalist gets some sort of status that makes it easier for their material to rise to the top. While it’s not clear if this particular suggestion really does make sense (or if it’s just a way of trying to add another layer of “certification” to the process), it’s still good to see some at least thinking about ways in which traditional news organizations can work with these new efforts — rather than simply scoffing at them and pretending they don’t exist.

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