The Principles of Citizen Journalism
The good folks over at the Citizen News Network have just launched a very timely project that outlines essential principles of citizen journalism
to "help citizen reporters master the fundamentals of the craft in a
networked age". By focusing on concepts that address "the core values
and tenets of quality journalism at the grassroots level", the group
has identified its 5 key principles as follows:
The KCNN site provides an excellent and comprehensive list of web resources
for established and aspiring citizen journalists that includes
text-based summaries of key issues, as well as screencasts, podcasts,
and video and audio interviews with notable social media/web 2.0
heavyweights including: Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, fêted blogger Jason Calcanis, and NYU professor Jay Rosen, among many others.
pleased to see that efforts such as these are being undertaken to
initiate an important discussion regarding the emergent roles and
reponsibilities of citizen journalists in the evolving worlds of
newsgathering, reporting, and news media. Thankfully, the aim of this
project is not to regulate the practice(s) of citizen
journalists but rather to begin an "ongoing conversation" that portends
toward a set of shared principles that can be actualized through
As I've discussed previously, opportunities to put such ideas into practice have been multiplying at a dizzying pace.
Back in May 2005, Cyberjournalist.net compiled a list of 81 prominent citizen journalism sites
and noted, even then, that "so many citizen journalism initiatives are
cropping up...it's hard to keep track". Since then, two years have
elapsed and we have uploaded our way into an era dominated by the
multiplicity of You and the singularity of Me.
A billion people are now online. You are now the tube, the space, and the creator. Content is now user-generated and crowdsourced. Journalism is now participatory and civic. And journalists are now citizens, as never before.
are in the process of effecting an important shift in the way
individuality is created and disseminated by digital means; and it is
imperative that some shared ethics and standards of
practice be developed (and ideally agreed upon) by the practitioners of
these new forms of journalism to reflect this shift. But will citizen
journalists heed these principles on ethical grounds, as they have been
proposed, or discard them in favour of 'individualized' standards of
practice, perhaps even contingent on compensatory revenue models?
As "content creators" have come to be valued as much for the content they have already created as for their creative potential, the nature of content has been changed. Our words, images, ideas, and selves
now constitute a new currency of exchange; one whose value depends on
both a shared system of valuation and a common set of practiced
principles. But will the principles of accuracy, thoroughness, fairness, transparency and independence help
to standardize and embolden responsible journalistic practices or will
market forces crack the very "bedrock foundations of journalism"?
What will this new currency be worth?
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