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Main | QUESTION TWO: How does journalism survive press/TV obsolescence? »

June 29, 2007

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Doug Thompson

Are citizen videos, blogs, submissions an example of expanded journalism or expanded ways to obtain information from witnesses to the scene? During the Virginia Tech shootings, CNN played the cell phone video over and over but if they ever interviewed the student who captured the video I missed it. A good reporter could have pulled additional information out of that witness to the event.

If journalism is threatened by such technologies it stems from an over reliance on bells and whistles at the expense of good, old fashioned reporting. Email interviews may be an easy way to obtain information but it is also an easy way to quote someone who might or might not exist. I was burned by an email source who turned out to not be who he claimed to be because he was able to hide his true identity through clever use of email addresses and a phony web site.

Playing the surveillance video from the Minneapolis bridge collapse over and over does not add to the story. It makes the viewer reach for the remote. Overuse of such techniques do little to better inform the reader.

Sam Lamb

Post #3Sam Lamb (Kansas) replied to your post
on Jul 29, 2007 at 3:22 AM
I don't know about this third question. While, sure, a random person might get an amazing picture or video once, that's hardly the same as interviewing twelve people, splicing video together with a voiceover, and making the 6 pm news.

I don't believe for a second the idea that everybody keeps hinting at, that soon journalism will stop being something one can specialize in, that the fourth estate has become a universal thing. If that were true, Katie Couric would need a day job.

People can send letters online in an instant, yet we haven't seen the Postal Service disappear. People can fill out their own tax forms, yet accountants abound. People have been capable of defending themselves in court for ages, yet the lawyers are legion. Just because people can report the news themselves does not mean there will be no professional journalists.

Angie Bado

While technology advances seem to invite easy citizen participation into the world of journalism (and certainly we have seen instances of this - the video taken via cell phone at the University of Virginia tragedy, for one) potential citizen journalism often seems stymied by an unwillingness to get involved due to perceived ramifications by their peers who will read what they have written.

I have also experienced the promise of photos or information about an event that has occurred in our community, only to find that the citizen journalist is "too busy" to follow through and post or send the information. Would ownership of our news site, something which you address in the citizen stock plan, help overcome some reluctance to truly participate on the part of citizen journalists?

Without a doubt, the potential for harnessing the talent and passions of members of our community exits. How do we actually get this power to become a real force in news community?

rick edmonds

Citizen contributions, like the cell phone photos of the London subay bombings are not new. Remember the Zapruder film? What is new is the exponential increase in volume of this material. Now and going forward it is part of the journalism mix.

I think profesional reporting, writing and editing is still easily distinguished from most amateur efforts

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