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Should Citizen Journalism be Encouraged?

The Internet and new media technologies have changed journalism. It has empowered people to become senders of information, giving birth to citizen journalism — the participation of public citizens in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information. It is a practice done by people outside mainstream media institutions.

News about major world events is easily disseminated with the help of citizen journalism because it can reach everyone who owns an Internet-ready mobile device through social networking and media-sharing websites. This phenomenon is criticized by many people especially professional journalists. They say that citizen journalism is too amateur and subjective. However, many people say that citizen journalism should be encouraged.

Supporters who defend citizen journalism say that it is powerful especially when done correctly. Citizen journalism has the advantage of speed and availability anytime and anywhere. Professional journalists do not need to interview citizens who experience unplanned events firsthand because citizens can report the events themselves.

Also, citizen journalism has the ability to address the gaps in mainstream journalism. Specifically, it is a powerful mechanism for fact-checking news reports that are reported by mainstream media. Aside from that, it can also provide supplemental news from a different angle.

Most importantly, citizen journalism empowers people and stimulates democracy. It gives people the ability to take part in disseminating information as a way of looking out for each other’s welfare and creating a well-informed public. Supporters add that not only does it help share information to remote areas of the globe but also helps improve local economies.

Critics explain that citizen journalism departs from journalism’s goal of objectivity. Citizens have no training and background in the technicalities and ethics involved in news reporting. Citizen journalists are not necessarily driven by their desire to inform. Many of them are activists who are politically motivated in some way.

Furthermore, with the citizens’ limited journalism background, the quality of the news that they report suffers especially that there is no quality control mechanism in place to check it. Citizen journalists can be criticized for their inaccuracy and poor writing. They lack the understanding of the process of gathering news and writing it in an acceptable form.

Finally, citizen journalists can never replace trained professional journalists. Professional journalists cover any kind of event because they have the credentials to do so. Even though citizens may report accurate information, credibility is something that they have to work hard to establish.

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questions

Summary
The Internet has empowered people to become senders of information, giving birth to citizen journalism. This phenomenon is criticized by many people including professional journalists. They say that citizen journalism is too amateur and subjective. However, many people say that citizen journalism should be encouraged. What do you think?

Encourage
1. Citizen journalism has speed and availability anytime anywhere.
2. Citizen journalism has the ability to address the gaps in mainstream journalism.
3. Citizen journalism empowers people.

Discourage
1. Citizen journalism departs from journalism’s goal of objectivity.
2. Citizens’ limited journalism background affects the quality of the news.
3. Citizen journalists can never replace trained professional journalists.

vocabularies

disseminate 퍼뜨리다/

mainstream 주류/

subjective 주관적인/

supplemental 추가, 보충되는/

stimulate 자극하다/

ethics 윤리/

acceptable 받아들여지는/

credentials 자격/

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