Power to the People

I think I will continue on the positive aspects of social media and technology in regards to journalism for a little while longer.  In this go around I want to talk about how news organizations are using social media encourage the mass public to participate in the news.  Gone are the days where professional journalists are the sole gate keepers of information, people are now able to dig up information through the use of social media and technology, and now news organizations have decided to capitalize on this idea.

Crowd sourcing and pro-am journalism are two concepts that flourish with the use of social media.  Basically, what these concepts are saying is to use the knowledge and insight of many people to gain more information on a particular subject that could help develop a news story.  Professional journalist will now call upon the mass public for information when needed, and who knows what wealth of information a journalist could gather by doing so.  A journalist not only gains information from the public, but they could also earn their trust.  People will be more inclined to listen to and trust a journalist when they do the same for the public.  In essence it could become a symbiotic relationship, the journalist gains knowledge on a subject to develop a better story while earning the trust of the public.  Meanwhile the public will have their ideas and stories heard and discussed and feel included in the media world.

As with almost anything in life there are some negative aspects to crowd sourcing and pro-am journalism.  As I’ve mentioned before in previous blog posts utilizing the crowd could lead to gaining false information.  Ultimately it is up to the journalist to determine what information to use but there is the possibility of some false information slipping through the cracks. Look at example with the Boston bombing suspect who was falsely accused. Bad story suggestions is also a possibility when encouraging the crowd to participate, sometimes there may be some frustrations if bad story ideas are suggested, which is obviously counter-productive.

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