With the new technology and new media the concept of citizen journalism has become increasingly popular. This form of journalism has many benefits but also some cons to it as well. Citizen journalism is a great way to promote interaction between newspeople and the rest of the community.
Through citizen journalists, the community can see things through the eyes of their own. The news isn’t filtered through people getting paid to tell a story and report. It is being broadcasted from people who feel the pain, happiness, and all the emotions that the community feels. These journalists have the same experiences that everyone else watching the news does. This brings a lot of validity and connection to the news. For example, in Syria, the role of citizen journalism is of the utmost importance. Those suffering and experiencing the Syrian civil war need a voice. In Syria, the presence of mainstream and broadcasted media is not allowed at all. Syria must rely on the reporting of their citizens to inform the rest of the world and document all of the things that are happening. Without the citizen journalists, it would be difficult to bring awareness to the rest of the world. However, Syria does not like citizen journalists and they are the first people they try to take out.
Citizen journalism also covers a lot of aspects that the mainstream media might not get to. One reason is that mainstream media simply might not have a deep understanding of some of the issues or events that are going on. In relation to the Syrian civil war, mainstream media does not understand the depth of the violence. They see what the Syrian government wants and allows them to see, which effects the content of their reports. Citizen journalism is content that is recorded at the discretion of the citizen. There are no controls over what they document and share. Whereas the use of mainstream media in Syria might only be coverage the the Syrian Government wants to allow.
On the other hand, citizen journalism also has its downsides. Journalists can have a lack of impartiality. They have no professional training so when having to handle situations where they disagree with another person, their approach in it might not be so respectful. Their ethics might vary from journalists who have professionally trained and report for a living. In Syria, the citizen journalists have been seen to act rowdy. They sometimes get violent and verbally aggressive. A professional would most likely never react to a situation in that manner.
Citizen journalist also are more likely to skew information. They want to make sure they get their message out in the way they wanted to. So as it is similar to mainstream media potentially only reporting the things that the Syrian government wants to be known, citizens might only share the things they want people to see. Syrians might only report the downsides of the the civil war or only the violent acts against the citizens. They might not show the good that some of the government might do because they don’t want people to see that there is any good left at all.