Facebook Cultivates New Generation of Citizen Journalists


MMW points to research that suggests that companies have a lack of managerial commitment and organizational investment when it comes to dealing with citizen journalists.  (Deuze, 112, MMW) The result is that most news articles that citizen journalists write are constrained to forums of online newspapers. (Deuze, 112, MMW) In other words, citizen journalists’ news stories are not necessarily communicated to many people.

What happens when citizen journalism is entered into the realm of  social media and into the realm of Facebook, in particular?

In May of this year, this article, which describes a Facebook group that cultivates citizen journalists, was released. The article assumes that citizen journalism is an effective method of producing journalism, referencing the connection between social media and the uprisings in the Middle East. The article emphasizes the importance of people, especially young people, to learn how to effectively be citizen journalists so that issues can be talked about and whistles can be blown if need be. This journalism outlet focuses on issues related to environmentalism and is specifically tailored for a younger demographic.

What is interesting here to me is the model and management of citizen journalism moving toward social media – in this case, Facebook. Instead of there being a top-down management strategy that is responsible for managing citizen journalism, this is more of a bottom-up strategy, where social media users can have access directly.

This is different from the citizen journalism that is often relayed through tweets on Twitter, which only allows for 140 characters per tweet. Imagine if Facebook’s update statuses included full news stories by citizen journalists: how would this change the structure managing citizen journalists on the whole?

– Dan Schiffman





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