Citizen Journalists

The advent of electronic media has revolutionised the manner in which information or news is disseminated. We are spoilt for choice when it comes to sources for news- there is a plethora of languages, business and investigative channels to choose from. This is not counting our regular entertainment channels!

All media now have the added feature called ‘citizen journalist’. The word play changes depending on the publishing house but the aim is the same, getting citizens to participate. The aim apparently is to bring out hidden aspects in society both good and bad. So does that mean we are better informed than before? Do we really know more about all strata of our society? That we can find inspiration in activities of someone besides the regular ‘high flier’ achievers?

Individuals who permit themselves to be featured for an article are people from everyday walks of life who are obviously are doing something that others find inspiring. However most of such citizen contributions too are subject to various editor ‘constraints’! And I am not referring to grammatical errors or a badly presented article. Some have even been known to back track on ideas discussed and approved ideas. IS this ethical journalism?

But then, the times when pen was mightier than the sword are long over. The movie ‘Page 3’ is symbolic of the rot in our system. Many papers are known to be driven by sales and advertising goals with articles being put in to fill spaces!

Where does that leave people whose achievements need to be highlighted? Again we can take advantage of technological developments, I am referring to the Internet ofcourse. Blogging offers us complete freedom to present our thoughts our ideas, our inspiration to the world. What’s better is we get comments and can actually make the article come alive with virtual discussions. Agreed that the reach of a blog may definitely not be as wide as that of an established house but then once read, the paper is consigned to the trashcan. Virtual archives allow the piece to be read again and again and again.

So then should we stop being ‘citizen journalists’? Should we stop taking an interest in our society if there is no one to transmit our message?

No. We must never give up. There are always alternatives. It is just a question of looking for them. Blogging is only one option. Speaking about the idea at social get-togethers is one more way of informally spreading our message. Join discussion forums and groups both real and virtual. So do not depend on messengers. Become one yourself.


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