AllVoices: Citizen Journalism Gone Bad
There is something noble about citizen journalism, the concept of members of the public "playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information." It sounds so, I dunno, democratic. The type of citizen journalism practiced on the internet allows—anyone who has one—the opportunity to share an opinion as well as news.
Since simple explanations are often the most efficient, here is citizen journalism as defined by About.com – Journalism, “Put very simply, citizen journalism is when private individuals do essentially what professional reporters do - report information… it's basically all about communicating information of some kind.”
Technorati offers a platform for citizen journalists who must submit a sample of their work before being accepted as a writer, and that employs a cadre of editors to check the work before it’s published. Some other sites allow self-publishing with oversight, assign articles, or allow writers a narrow field about which to write. Some limit the types of content or news they accept, others will accept anything (or just about anything). Some of them pay, some of them don’t.
One of the things that some people don’t appear to understand about citizen journalism is that it is written by citizen journalists. As such, they are expected to have a decent command of spelling, grammar, and writing skills in the language of their audiences. It would make as much sense for a site to become identified with atrocious writing as it would for a news-oriented site to become identified with pornography.
Some people “sleep around,” I “write around.” I like to have a home base for which I do the majority of my writing and other sites for articles that don’t quite fit the environment of my home base, either because they are highly opinionated, controversial essays, personal or autobiographical, or they are on a subject that isn’t included in the home site’s coverage. In so doing, I’ve sampled a half-dozen or so sites, some that were an okay match, and I occasionally contribute to three or four of them.Continued on the next page