Notice: Undefined index: columnist-ograph in /var/www/html/ on line 176
Social media is citizen journalism

 | Philippine News Agency


By Allan Mediante

“Traditional academic assumptions say that traditional media is "all that is good and holy" and the new media/bloggers/etc. are, at minimum, highly suspect and probably poor quality…,” was a remark I read from a media analyst.

He essentially talked about how news is being transformed from static product to process in the networked public sphere, a concept that has since been further developed. 

If I may suggest, bloggers must undertake a lot more research, fact-checking, and careful reasoning. By these, they will begin to get more readership, and find that their routines become more like those of traditional journalists, instead of just spouting off opinion.

Traditional journalists contemptuously see bloggers as having little motivation for original reporting because they get most of their basic knowledge from traditional media. But I believe that bloggers also researched sources to exchange all kinds of information with their readers.

Serious bloggers read multiple sources to research issues. It may not be the same as the hard-work of true blue-blooded reporting, but it is not exactly just disgorging out irrelevance, either.  

Bloggers may sometimes refrain from controversial issues because they fear criticism, but this is also done by traditional journalists at times.

Many mainstream journalists are now also adopting social media such as twitter, or facebook. What could be the long term consequence of this?

Let’s face the fact that news organizations today do not have the monopoly of the news anymore.  

Journalists are transforming from being gatekeepers of information to sharing it in a public space.

Therefore social media as citizen journalism is becoming an acceptable reality.

What is evolving is a new objectivity. Objectivity is always important for the news. Serious reporting was once designed to deliver journalism that people can trust. But in this new age of media, it is transparency that delivers trust.

News today still has to be accurate and fair, but it is as important for the readers, listeners and viewers to see how the news is produced, where the information comes from, and how it works. The emergence of news is as important, as the delivering of the news itself.

Information is not journalism. You read many issues, utterances, pronouncements, and reports from multiple sources on-line, Facebook, Twitter, etc.. but they may not be journalism.  

Practicing professional Journalism is built and cultivated on discipline, analysis, explanation and context. These must be adapted by social media practitioners.

Social media as citizen journalism must uphold collaboration, openness and culture as rules.

Social media is not only important for citizen journalism, but for reaching out to the readers as well. Mainstream media are exploring the use of social media to drive traffic according to Reuters.

Today, we can see that social tools such as Facebook and Twitter are inspiring readers to become citizen journalists. They now can easily publish and share information to a larger audience.

Social media practitioners as citizen journalists will be more entrenched on their communities. Mainstream media outlets would soon focus on bloggers as potential correspondents. Bloggers will no longer be just bloggers, but may be relied upon as more of credible sources.

Alfred Hermida, professor of integrated journalism at the University of British Columbia, said: “Social media by its very definition is a participatory medium. There is a potential for greater engagement and connection with the community, but only if journalists are open to ceding a degree of editorial control to the community.”

About the Columnist

Columnist Image

Mr. Mediante is incumbent Vice President of the Philippine Press Institute; Executive Vice President of Cagayan de Oro Press Club; and Editor in Chief of Mindanao Daily News – a region-wide newspaper based in Cagayan de Oro City.