Monday, March 31, 2008

Me the Citizen Reporter? Response to Readings

I found Danny Schechter’s The Death of Media quite interesting. What struck me as most interesting and relevant to this course was Schechter’s take on citizen reporting. As soon as I read this short passage I realized the effect of what we have strived to achieve all semester and the outcome we could have on the community.

Schechter writes, “Increasingly, news consumers want to participate in our media, not just be passive recipients of its output. Concepts like citizen journalism are now on the agenda. Blogging is more popular than ever. The idea of being the media, not just watching or listening to it, is finding many supporters. The by-products of this movement are more visible and influential than ever before” (Schechter 140)

One of the by-products of which Schechter speaks is this blog. Our entire class’s blogs. I find this astounding, and am quite glad and would like to congratulate Ian on engaging us more with what we consume as media consumers, and also what we are putting out there. The idea of citizen journalism is, to me, so fascinating because it allows us to throw our own two cents in. No more will we sit back and listen to the same old garbage. We may now draw upon someone else’s thoughts, research what we want to avidly participate in and voice our own opinions, because we, both as consumers and amateur journalists, know that somewhere out there we will strike a chord with someone else.

I never thought about this before, but on Facebook I’ve subscribed to an England Rugby Fan club. In order to upgrade and progress through the ranks you must send invites, start fake brawls with rival fans, cheer your team on and post news. The beauty of posting news is that you choose what is important and others rank it and bump the story if it is important. Perhaps the most useful gimmick, though, is the fact that when you post a story you can add a summary or abstract of what is being said in the news article. I pull these articles mostly off or and get to voice my opinion on them. Being that I was quite angered over Jonny Wilkinson being benched during the final 6 Nations match of the tournament vs. Ireland and promising young star Danny Cipriani was handed his position, I raved on and on about how bad a decision this was. Yes, they won the Ireland game with Cipriani standing in, but just because the icon and golden boy of English Rugby screws up a game that results in a loss to the Scottish doesn’t mean he’s lost his thunder.The rapid progress of citizen journalism allowed me to voice my opinion to fellow fans who also shared the same belief despite an excellent debut start from Cipriani, and it is because of this I hold citizen journalism in such high regard. If the article is still kicking about on the fan page, add me to Facebook and scope it if you are interested. It’s Andrew Pritchard, U of G class of 2010, BA Honours English and Sociology.

Later in the passage about citizen journalism, Schechter writes, “The ‘Blogosphere’ gained new prominence and wider acceptance as a new breed of citizen Web publishers supplemented, and sometimes surpassed, mainstream print and broadcast news outlets in a variety of contexts” (Schechter 142) I find this quite easy to believe in all actuality. Considering how bland some find most news stories, its no wonder people would rather read citizen news than that handed down to us for media corporations. This was there is no advertising besides whatever is chosen to be advertised on our blog pages, no ulterior motive behind our writings. There is also no need to beat around the bush, to be politically correct. Not that I am in any way endorsing religious, gender or race based discrimination, but sometimes things sound a bit more emphatic coming from someone who doesn’t repeatedly edit their work as not to offend. I see great potential for news in this aspect, free flowing news, uncensored by corporations.

However, the last quote does pose problems. As I read in one of the course’s later required readings, blogger’s are able to overrun Google to have their opinions voiced, such as the example of petitioning against fast food chains, ‘McGrease’ and ‘Fourbucks’. I commend these bloggers for their organization and activity, but what would happen if organizations like the KKK or neo-nazis got hold of this and flooded the internet with their racist propaganda? It would be absolute mayhem! Needless to say, I have faith that the masses would wisely choose to ignore this garbage, however, some people have weak minds and a need for a sense of belonging to a cause, and I’m sure they could sway at least a few people with their ludicrous and disgusting ideals.

Works Cited

Schechter, Danny. "The Death of Media and the Fight to Save Democracy". Hoboken: Melville House, 2005.


I. Reilly said...

your reading here points to both the democratic potential of citizen journalism and the anarchic potential for another brand of information dissemination. how, if at all, do we reconcile the two?


I. Reilly said...

one last comment: think about blogs as sites/sights of power.