With evolving technology and social media, the potential for ‘citizen journalists’ is greater than ever. ‘Citizen Journalism’ is based around the public, playing an active role in cultivating, reporting and distributing the news. Meaning that any person with the basic knowledge of decent journalism, and access to a smartphone allows any Tom, Dick and Harry to become a reporter and be the one to break the latest scoop, often quite faster than any news outlet could.
Many stories become ‘viral’ within minutes, gaining more coverage over those few minutes than most newspapers, online news sites and broadcast news can do within the day they are released.
As convenient and groundbreaking as citizen journalism can be, it also has a few pitfalls. One of the main concerns is the reliability and accuracy of reporting straight from the street. Rigorous fact-checking is something that journalists need to base all of their stories around so as to escape ethical and legal issues. This can be thrown out the window with citizens wanting to post immediately online the moment their story breaks.
All the while, citizen journalism enables news to be delivered in real time, 24/7 and all around the world.