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Week 3 – Citizen Journalism

May 23, 2011

For some, Internet has been an integral part of our everyday life because it is apparent that not only we need them to find resources for our academic essays and communicate with each other, Internet has been used to keep us updated with (local and international) news affecting us in a much faster pace. The need for a faster news updates, the easy access to the Internet, followed by the need for citizen to voice out their opinion on social issues have contributed to the rise of ‘citizen journalism’. Like what the name suggests, it is news written by almost everyone in the world regardless of their position or skills, turning them not only to be a message receiver, but also to be a sender, especially now with the availability of free web hosts and YouTube (Chiang, 2003).

With the advancement of technology, with just a click away, people can publish something from one end of the world and received internationally by everyone at the other end, as long as they have an internet connection. In local context, for example, citizen journalism has received  much public acceptance, from (the most reliable) social-political blogs, such as the Online citizen and Temasek Review, to (the facetious), such as STOMP by SPH.

This raises problem such as credibility, since to write something online, people do not need to have a special talent or gifts. In fact, everyone is welcomed to create their own blog through free web hosting, such as Blogspot and WordPress.

Some also believed that this era or ‘citizen journalism’ will threaten the future role of traditional journalists. However, this might as well only occur in certain countries where technology advancement are in the first priority and also for people who do not have the time to read through the long elaboration of news in mainstream media. This is especially true for a country like Singapore, but not in Indonesia since online journalism only popular to some extent. There are two most possible reasons on why citizen journalism are not popular in Indonesia: First, Internet has not penetrate into all cities and province of Indonesia. Secondly, Television is still Indonesia’s dominant medium of news source (BBC, 2011).

Thus, It is apparent that though online news bring more freedom to citizen who want to voice out their opinion about certain issues without the interference of the government, the traditional media will not losses it appeal, especially by those who seek credibility and fairness in media (however we know now that traditional media may also have certain biasness in terms of serving the powerful societal needs which may come from its major funding sources (Herman & Chomksy, 2002)).

Reference:

Chiang, C-H, 2003, Community websites study: A Uses and Gratification research, URN: etd-0830104-035546.

Herman, E S, Chomsky, N, 2002, ‘Introduction’, Manufacturing consent: the political economy of the mass media, Pantheon Books, New York, pp. 11-58.

BBC, 2011, Indonesia country profile, viewed 21 May 2011, <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/country_profiles/1260544.stm&gt;

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