Today I’ve delivered another two sessions on citizen journalism to the MA students in Journalism. I have revamped my previous slides by restructuring and adding new information based on my experience from previous sessions and new materials I’ve gathered. I’ve also got something new to say because there has been new development regarding Rubert Murdoch’s constant and continuous complaints about news aggregators like Google appropriate news publishers’ content: Google has conceded by allowing publishers of paid for content to limit the amount of free access internet users have to their websites from Google News.
It was difficult to cover so much information in an introductory session, but I think it was well-received by the students. Though impressed by the range and amount of resources out there on the Internet, the MA students showed reservation about the quality of news produced by “citizens” (aka “anyone” or “everyone”). They were curious about how fact-checking and quality assurance / quality control are carried out by different citizen journalist sites (e.g., Wikinews). I so much like to invite someone involved in those citizen journalist sites to share their experiences, and/or to do some research on their actual work.
One student said that citizen journalists / contributors should get more respect (but how? what rewards should they get?). One said he hated BBC (or other broadcasters) said “send us your photos or videos” because it makes him feel those journalists are not working. A 27-second only video clip on YouTube made by one student drove me to think that perhaps some types of citizen journalism (e.g., campus news) does not have to be serious news reporting. Light-hearted and entertaining pieces would be more attractive.
I’m now wondering how these rich resources to which I’ve exposed the students would be applied, adopted, and appropriated by the students. As I said to the students, I can’t tell them what the future of journalism will be because the future is not to be defined but to be creted by them, collectively.