Success of grassroot journalism


In the book of Media Work, Mark Deuze mentioned that consumer also plays a role as co-producer of media messages. This is especially the case theses years with the booming of new technology and social media. With the help of modern technology and the Internet, people do not have to get professional training to cover a story. Instead, anyone with a camera, mobile phone, and a social media account could make himself/herself into a journalist.

For instance, PX incident marks the success of citizen reporters in China. The government planned to build a PX (Xylene, a toxic chemical material) plant in Xiamen, a beautiful seaside city in southeast China. Local citizens used text messages, forums and Blogs in the protests against this new plan. On the other hand, professional journalists were afraid of government authority and did not cover the story in the very beginning. But as the impact of this event grows, citizens’ oppositions forced the local government to change their decision and halt the construction. With the public participants claimed their success, I felt thrilled about the tremendous power of new media to solve social issues.

On August 26, 2011, an opinion out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit was released, it stated that a private citizen’s right to videotape police officers performing their duties in a public space is “unambiguously” protected by the First Amendment.  Glik v. Cunniffe, et al., No. 10-1764 (1st Cir. Aug. 26, 2011). The Court of Appeals emphasized that these rights are not restricted to so-called “professional” journalists. The judge said, “Moreover, changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw. …Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.”

-Holly Jiang

Deuze, M. (2007). Media Work. Malden, MA, USA: Polity Press.


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