Citizen journalism

Photo of author


Citizen journalism is a new word created for a new cultural phenomenon. We will look at the meaning of the term citizen journalism, where it comes from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Citizen journalism describes the gathering, filtering and dissemination of news by a member of the general public. Most often, citizen journalism occurs over the internet, it has arisen because of a perceived bias in traditional news organizations. A related term is citizen journalist. Citizen journalism may be a positive or a negative occurrence. For instance in the case of a natural disaster, traditional news organizations might not be able to travel to the scene of devastation. Citizen journalists may use cell phones to get information out to non-affected areas. On the negative side, citizen journalists may not understand the concept of checking their sources of information. Interestingly, a precedent has been set to protect citizen journalists under shield laws that were designed to protect professional journalists. American shield laws allow journalists to keep their sources secret without repercussion. The term citizen journalist appears in the early 2000s, its popularity was propelled by its mention in the book We the Media written by Dan Gillmor in 2004.


Citizen journalism is about curating stories from our communities and sharing them with others. (The International Examiner)

But only recently, with the continued progression of mobile devices and maturation of social publishing platforms, has the impact of citizen journalism become tangible in the United States. (The Columbia Journalism Review)

Anyone can publish content on the Internet and, in some senses, this is a great thing. Information has become egalitarian and news hierarchies are being challenged by citizen journalism. (The Mail & Guardian)