Citizen journalism

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Citizen journalism has been described as individuals "playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information."

In their report We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information, Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis write that "the intent of this participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires." [1]

Citizen Journalism is slowly being looked upon as a form of rightful democratic ways of giving honest news, articles, etc, directly by citizens of the world from anywhere. [2]

Kent Bye's "Echo Chamber Project" is attempting a new type of citizen journalism: an "open source, investigative documentary about the how the television news media became an uncritical echo chamber to the Executive Branch leading up to the war in Iraq." By "open source," Bye means that he is sharing both the transcripts and footage from his documentary with anyone who wants to use it or remix it with other footage as they see fit. He is also trying to "develop more sophisticated techniques for citizen journalism," including new software tools that will enable other collaborative efforts. A preliminary video of the Echo Chamber Project is available on, a non-profit initiative that provides free storage space and bandwidth to anyone with videos, audio files, text files, or software that they'd like to share with the world. [3]

NowPublic lets anyone publish their own work, collectively decide what appears on the homepage and upload photographs, video or sound recordings that relate to news stories. The site is just under 1 year old but with several thousand contributors is already a rival to conventional media in terms of reporting capacity.

Filling The Local News Gap

"It seems strange, in our day of multiple 24-7 news channels, the always-on Internet, and RSS to say that we don’t have enough news," writes Lisa Williams. "But in most cities and towns that happen to be more than 500 feet outside a major media market, the local people suffer more from media anorexia than information overload. It’s hard to find good information about the place where you live." Williams describes her own experiences trying to fill the gap with H2Otown, her citizen journalism website for Watertown, Massachusetts. Citizen journalism, she writes, takes real work and a different funding model than traditional newspapers: "It seemed to me that a successful newsblog might have a business model that looked more like public radio – periodic pledge drives and underwriters – than the subscription/advertising model that many news outlets were dragging into the online world. To make it work, they’d have to get over something I suspected they and many journalists had: hesitation about being directly involved with handling the money." [4]

Other sites, like The Third Report offer Citizen Journalists in any city or town in the world a platform to submit local news and opinions.

Case studies


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