Citizen journalism: who’s problem?

Over at Small Initiative, Jay’s got a fun little series on The problem with citizen journalism.

Essentially, if you let folks rate/rank stories, sometimes some real stinkers float to the top.

That begs the question, is the problem with the citizens, or the journalism?

<!– This is the real world, (not that one), so no answer is simple, but here’s a stab: –>

* What are are we doing covering these stories anyway? — I mean sure, they may be cute, or fun, and as folks today would say, “they sell newspapers” or “they drive clicks.”

But, can some newsroom manager seriously justify the portion of the salaries of the reporter, editor, copy editor, designer, and Web producer that were needed to write about the four-eared cat.

I’m not suggesting that your average newspaper and TV newcast should be a boatload of dull, dreary stories — I mean, who can get excited about page after page of deaths in Iraq, joblessness, corporations embezzling, etc. But is anyone going to really argue that TV news, and more and more newspapers, *aren’t* slowly descending into infotainment.

At the same time, media companies are businesses, and for all the high-minded ideals we journalists espouse, we like our paychecks, and companies have to make money to survive in our capitalist society. So if this shitty content is what sells, who are we to argue with Adam Smith?

* What is the public doing reading these stories? — Sure, they’re fun and cute, but aren’t there are other important issues, that impact a reader’s life (like the aforementioned war, terror, economy, and cash-n-carry ™ government) enough to be read/ranked into the top spots?

What does this say about our audience… Why are they reading this drivel?

My best guess is that the media-consuming audience, as a whole, as gotten larger over time. But that as the audience got larger, the education of it has stayed the same, or at least not progressed as rapidly as the audience size as grown.

So we're left with a mass audience that cares more about J. Lo’s Mom than it does the affairs of its own government.

About Chris

Python developer, Agile practitioner trying desperately not to be a pointy haired boss.
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3 Responses to Citizen journalism: who’s problem?

  1. Gina says:

    Aw, shucks, Chris,
    We can’t be serious all the time. Methinks journalists in general take themselves way, way too seriously.

  2. Marina says:

    collecting information, that is really interesting and informative is a hard and responsible
    job. really, the journalists are the “warriors” in the struggle for being the most popular and
    truthful news getters.

  3. Pingback: Micro Persuasion

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