A very interesting point made by David Gyimah at We Media: Citizen journalists have always been around. It’s just that they probably sent their material to Mainstream Media. Over and over again – the point about how journalists are equipped to fact check (which apparently bloggers can’t) is being repeated.
So here’s the deal. Blogger and Amateur aren’t synonyms. There are journalists with incredible experience who choose to blog for the freedom it provides, and because it lets them lay out more information and reflect on the nature of news. A blogger may or may not want to be known as a journalist. It’s NOT an Us Vs. Them situation. Suppose we do consider the argument that a journalist is better trained – how does one read into a journalist who blogs? Do they automatically lose credibility?
The panel seems to think that the medium should predominantly be Mainstream Media. So why do they want to regulate content of information to such a large extent? The other stream of thought seems to be that good blogs are far and few and too many blogs are breakfast blogs. That blogs that discuss cat food, movies, linen etc. are too many and of no use to anyone. But is all of Mainstream Media relevant? Does everyone want a vacation in Thailand? Is everyone dying to experiment with fashion or mushrooms? A large part of content is always irrelevant – which is why user tweaked/ adjusted content has played such a large role even in the way Mainstream Media reaches out to its audience. Mainstream Media is equally cacophonous. Which is why tagging mechanisms etc. have largely improved the way we navigate through blog content.
It’s also important we understand that bloggers aren’t responsible for each other. The same way Guaridan isn’t responsible for what the BBC does.
It’s sad if journalism as a profession feels threatened by citizen journalism. But if it makes them clean up their act – Oh! Why not? It is unfortunate that people who support citizen journalism have to feel so defensive in a forum that was supposed to engage the two camps. I feel like they’ve divided them up even further.