FALSEHOODS AND CITIZEN JOURNALISM

I’m sure that within recent years, you would have heard of the term ‘fake news’ probably more than once. 

Fake News or, rather, Falsehoods are simply lies and deception within the media and more importantly our news. According to this article on ‘Public Beliefs and Falsehoods in News’, “The circulation of misinformation, lies, propaganda, and other kinds of falsehood has, to varying degrees, become a challenge to democratic publics.” 

This then brings us to the question:  Do you personally trust the news?

Journalism is something of which we, the public, rely on in terms of our news and the spread of information that we trust. Journalists are “the professional discipline of assembling and verifying facts,” as “accuracy is the foundation upon which everything else is built”, however, with the constant upkeep on social media platforms such as Facebook, do we still trust it as we once did? Or do we question it more, now that we ourselves have the ability to work a similar angel? 

Citizen Journalists are what we call those of the public who share on the socials every bit of information they come across, I’m sure we all know one or two. Citizen Journalism is “the collecting and reporting of information via social media, public platforms, and traditional news outlets, either by non-traditional sources or the public.” The idea is that “Citizen Journalism can be considered as the offspring” of traditional in takes of news such as Radio. 

The next question to be asked is whether or not we think of this type of journalism to be quality or harmful? If falsehoods can be easily filtered through those in careers of “verifying facts”, what is to say that it isn’t also from your next door neighbors Facebook page? 

Really, is it doing more harm than good?

Personally, I believe it intends to be more beneficial more so than not.

 An example of this, the way that in India Citizen Journalism has been providing and assisting forgotten villagers. The original landowners are being segregated by the ancient systems that India runs on. “The current model of communication and journalism is a cold model of aristocracy.” Yet with the help of Citizen Journalism, villages such as ‘Dalits’ have received aid as well as the allowance of their own voice, “for people living in remote, inaccessible areas. For the first time, these ‘last mile’ people can speak their minds.” Not only that, but the access to Citizen Journalism has also aided in the awareness of dreadful issues often overlooked, “community activities that alert mainstream media and governments to long-neglected issues such as farmer suicide, migration and displacement and lack of school facilities.” 

Truely, I think that Citizen Journalism has a high intent of wanting to help and inform, more so than traditional news programs which have far richer guidelines to follow than someone sharing a post or uploading a photo. Yet, it goes without saying that of course it isn’t always the most truthful or helpful, but rarely anything is. 

REFERENCES:

BCM111, UOW, Lecture slides, week three, Dr Renee Middlemost, https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/2462176/mod_resource/content/1/BCM111%20Week%203%20Lecture.pdf 

Koc-Michalska, K., Bimber, B., Gomez, D., Jenkins, M. and Boulianne, S. (2020). Public Beliefs about Falsehoods in News. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 25(3), pp.447–468. https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/2405185/mod_resource/content/1/Week%203%20BCM111%201940161220912693.pdf

Tate (n.d.). Power to the People: The rise and rise of Citizen Journalism – Essay. [online] Tate. Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/p/photojournalism/power-people

The Citizen. (n.d.). How citizen journalism is giving voice to India’s forgotten villagers. [online] Available at: https://www.thecitizen.org.au/articles/how-citizen-journalism-giving-voice-indias-forgotten-villagers 

“What is Citizen Journalism? – Definition & Examples.” Study.com, 18 October 2018, https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-citizen-journalism-definition-examples.html

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