Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What IS News?

According to Media Literacy, “…news does not reflect reality. Instead, it is a construction of journalists.” This basic idea might change the way people look at news. News stories do not necessarily portray what is happening; rather they reflect what the journalist saw crammed into a few minute news story. In large news organizations, journalists do not have adequate time to fully explain a story and this results in the public only seeing parts of news stories. These problems have recently been combated by what are called “cyberjournalists.”

Cyberjournalists report on citizen journalism sites. Basically, the idea is that regular people (citizens) are able to act in the role of journalist and their stories are published through these websites. There are many different kinds of citizen journalism. The different types are discussed at Poynter Online

One specific citizen journalism site is called Coastsider This site was designed specifically for residents of San Mateo County, CA to post stories that involve their community. Poynter Online described eleven different types or layers to citizen journalism. This site would most likely fall into the sixth layer: “The Stand-alone citizen-journalism site: Edited version.” This means that it is not affiliated with a major news site and its contributions are made up entirely of citizen’s reporting. It appears that someone edits the stories for errors before they are posted onto the website.

This site allows people to post stories of interest. In addition to stories, videos, a community calendar of events, community related links, and town hall issues can be located on this site. Residents have the opportunity to share information with others in their community through this site, and the comments section allows community members to post responses to the stories.

Coastsider provides truly local news for the community. An advantage of this citizen’s journalism site is that it provides up-to-date information to local community members about events that could be important to them. Coastsider lists stories from most to least recent. Today it has stories as recent as yesterday. This new trend of citizen journalism provides previously unheard of opportunities for aspiring journalists or active community members to get their stories out to the public. Whether it be for a major news organization or just for the local community, citizen journalism sites provide great opportunities to hear from regular people.

1 comment:

Keith said...

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