What is the potential for citizen journalism in today’s multi-platform communication environment?

WEEK 6 ALJ 215

With soap box and smart phone at the ready, anyone can be a journalist – or can they?

There was an interesting situation in America recently that typified this blurring of lines between legitimate news and citizen journalism. Hilde Kate Lysiak, the 9-year-old reporter and publisher of the Orange Street News created headlines with this message: “If you want me to stop covering news, then you get off your computer and do something about the news. There, is that cute enough for you?” She had ‘covered’ a homicide investigation in he own community. The trouble here is that despite her tenacity, Lysiak is just a regular 9 year old girl with clearly no understanding of the legalities that abound criminal reporting. Granted she did release information before the professionals did – but professionals know how to navigate such predicaments as ‘contempt of court’ and understand that releasing information early can seriously jeopardise criminal legal proceedings. I personally do not find this little girl cute, I believe the phrase “narcissistic little punk” may have made it’s way in to my commentary of this particular example of citizen news on my face book writing page .

The potential for citizen journalism is vast. But so are the new challenges this concept raises. There is tremendous privilege, possibilities and power associated with being able to harness a public platform and deliver impactful content. The savvy journalists will harness, mediate and moderate this new stream of information, counterparts who don’t will risk being caught in a wash of conversational white noise and ridiculed by precocious nine year olds, or so it may seem.

(This is a student assignment for my journalism major (Deakin University) ALJ 215 2016 Crystal Corocher)



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