Citizen Media

I want to stop calling it citizen journalism.

The phrase “citizen journalism” carries too much baggage. Big-J journalists object that some blogger with a political opinion and a few hyper links ain’t a journalist. And the word “journalism” has the potential to make your average citizen then reporting what you observe takes college training.

Besides, not all non-professional content is journalism. Some of it is pure entertainment. To have value, average-person content need not be journalistically sound nor slickly produced. I would prefer if it were honest or authentic, but it probably doesn’t even need to be that. It just needs to work as a piece of communication.

“Citizen media” also reminds us that average-person contributions are more than just digital words. They can be audio or video.

J.D. Lasica argues that the word “citizen” is also a misnomer. I think not. Yes, “citizen” has a certain legal meaning within the boundaries of national jurisdictions, but it also has a broader meaning. It also means a person who is not a servant of the state. In liberal Western tradition, a citizen is a free person. Citizen media is independent media.

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