Citizen Journalist The Future of Journalism

Story by Brenda Mandujano

In the current society blogging has become the thing of the future. Information and stories are passed through social media and blogs and distributed to thousands in just seconds. The issue is that no one needs a journalist license or be backed by a major media source. A panel of guests joined Doug a Host/Executive Producer of Radio West on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, to discuss ‘The Rise of the Audience”. This session concluded Future of Journalism Series at the Hinckley Institute of Politics.  The following information is main points in the future of the society with blogging and social media.

Holly Richardson, a member of the Utah House of Representatives from Pleasant Grove and active blogger, stated “Everyone is legitimate to the point where people see them legit.”

Those who write about what they know become legitimate and have followers who trust what they write.

People today want to read short and to-the-point stories. They use social media to get their information and to repost. As things are changing they need to adjust and “help people raise their media IQ in a way,” as Doug stated.

Journalists are responsible for filtering and gathering the information and putting it together in a way that it is easy to read. When the information is released, citizens take it and spread it over the world web through blogs, tweets or Facebook as the information is spread faster.

Matthew La Plante, a journalism instructor at Utah State University and a former national security reported for the Salt Lake Tribune, discussed that a reporter and columnist he felt disconnected and felt like he was shooting into the dark. They never see a reaction or comment unless it comes from their editor or they come across someone who read the article. Those who blog or tweets are able to receive immediate feedback from the audience. The responses may not always be positive but they are available.

For the future of journalism an education is not required. Blogging, tweeting and using Facebook is accessible by anyone who owns a computer or Smartphone. Taking information from a news story or other post and reposting, instantly make that person a writer.

If anyone can be a writer the next step is education citizen journalist. Citizen journalist can also be involved in lawsuits including libel and privacy issues. Which means everything that is written needs to be thought through before being posted. Journalism classes have discussions in the use of privacy, when to use the names in stories or when to stay anonymous.

Morgan Heath, a mass communication major, said, “Education is not needed for present journalism, but I feel more prepared by taking the time to learn.”

Being prepared in media is important and even if an education is not present one can take the time to learn by reading books or receiving help by others in the profession. In present journalism anyone who writes about something they know whether it is blogging or tweeting becomes trusted sources.