Citizen journalism is a very controversial topic among journalists, especially in the technological era today. Professional journalists believe that journalism is a practice that is not for the everyday person and there are rules, means, and ethical regulations to explaining facts to the public, which can only be learned through formally studying to become a journalist. Others believe that citizen journalism is very helpful toward society and that citizen journalism is a way to deconstruct the modern Information Society.
Many believe that citizen journalism is not only a right, but it also proves to be considerably helpful in certain circumstances. Getting a citizen’s personal perspective on a topic or event can be a way to gain unfiltered information and perspective. Sometimes, citizen journalism can be essential. A great example of a historical event in which citizen journalism helped tell the story is the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11th, 2001. There is an abundance of anecdotes about the horrific and traumatizing day from people who experienced the attacks first-hand. These personal stories allow others to see what it was like for the people in and around the twin towers that day. Through citizen journalism, citizens can also give their own personal perspective in light of a situation and are able to express how they feel after the fact, which can sometimes be limiting in mainstream news and professional journalism. Instead of just the facts, which may sometimes be biased, citizen journalism is more personal and particular.
Many people also believe that the attacks of 9/11 marked the rise of citizen journalism and the digital age. People found that the internet was a perfect and easy medium to share stories.
Citizen photos offer an inside and immediate look into an exact moment. Professional journalists usually get aftermath photos of unexpected events, and if they do happen to get a shot of immediate action, it’s usually blind luck. Photography of citizen journalism is in the moment and from the real eyes of the experiencer.
Citizen videos are also very important toward depicting different perspectives of the plane crashes. First person videos offer different angles of the event and show in real time what the expereince was like for people around the city. Citizen videos can also be extremely helpful afterward when the attacks are analyzed and studied to further understand what exactly happened on that day.
Most of all, personal accounts of 9/11 can explain in full detail how this event affected the lives of those who experienced it. There are hundreds of written accounts that can be found online from people who were in the buildings, citizens who were on the street, and witnesses who saw the attacks from further around the city. Each story is different and each story has something new to say not only about what the attack felt like, but how it made them feel both during and after.
Here are a few to get you started: