What is online citizen journalism

Citizen Journalism

From MedienWiki


Citizen journalism, also known as: participatory journalism, grass-roots journalism, journalism 2.0 and peer-to-peer journalism. Roughly speaking, the term describes the action of a citizen who takes an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating information and news.

The content is referred to as UGC (User Generated Content). The intent of this participation is to provide independent, credible, reliable, accurate and diversified information to the masses.

Everyone has the need to communicate something to others. If you used to do this by the "old-fashioned" way of the letter or later by e-mail, today you have the opportunity to disseminate your knowledge in a weblog, among other things. If this type is not yet public enough, in the role of citizen journalist as a private person, as a so-called “reader reporter”, you can publish your information on the Internet or in newspapers by photo, SMS or fax.

Citizen journalism in general is spreading across the Internet via email, chat, message boards, forums, and weblogs. However, it is precisely with such media platforms that there is often a lack of professionalism from the media or journalists. They see citizen journalism rather critically, because the truthfulness of disseminated information, articles and comments is often insufficiently researched and there are no detailed, precise and relevant sources.


Until the mid-1990s, journalism relied on the traditional mass media. The mediation capacity of the press and radio was not enough to give anyone who wanted to communicate something publicly the opportunity to do so. In the early 1990s, newspapers experimented with involving their readers in shaping the news. Like many trends, America was seen as a pioneer of modern reporting when it comes to citizen journalism: 20% of the 1,500 daily newspapers in the USA published the opinions of their readers between 1994 and 2001.

In this first phase of emerging citizen journalism, the term “civic journalism” must also be mentioned. After the US presidential elections in 2000, doubts about the coverage of the existing media grew in the USA. From this time of mistrust, a movement developed that advocated news that was close to the people. Journalists should be perceived as active participants in everyday life and current topics should also be discussed by citizens in newspapers. Jay Rosen, professor of journalism at New York University, is one of the pioneers of this movement. Professional journalists endeavored to “journalism for citizens”. But since not everyone was ready to take part in this movement, the "Civic Journalism Movement" failed in 2003 due to a lack of support.

The most important step towards citizen journalism can therefore be seen in the invention of weblogs and in the popularization of Web 2.0. The simplified access to the Internet has made it possible for many people to publish their opinions and eyewitness reports in Internet forums, weblogs or chat rooms. A short chronicle:

  • February 2002 the online publication Ohmynews goes online in South Korea and becomes famous with the motto: "Every Citizen is a Reporter".
  • 2002 After the terrorist attacks in the USA and in the shadow of the second Iraq war, more and more war blogs emerged which, through eyewitness reports and photos, above all offer authenticity and 'true' news. The first freelance journalist to report live from Iraq on his blog back to iraq is Chris Allbritton.

More war blogs: