Citizen journalism is a lofty little term thrown around by interweb idealists.* This week, Trevor Knoblich wrote a column on PBS’ MediaShift blog asking “Can Citizen Journalism Move Past Crisis Reporting?”
No, no, it can’t.
The first lonely comment under the article was from an editor of CNN’s iReport, championing the organization’s efforts to help citizens gather and report stories that are meaningful to them and their community. The idea is a noble one, and it’s executed pretty well. They give tips on good storytelling and provide free music clips you can use with your video. There’s even an Assignment Desk where editors ask for submissions on a given topic (this weekend it’s ‘Show Off Your Mom Tattoos’).
It’s not that I am against any of the actually very good work iReport can curate. It’s that most of the contributions have the “not vetted” by CNN label which means they’re the equivalent of a YouTube video about your student debt, the plight of tipped workers, or, your mom tattoo.
Remember the editorial pages of your local newspaper? Read more