Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Participatory Journalism

Participatory journalism is “the act of a citizen, or groups of citizens, playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information". Authors Bowman and Willis say: "The intent of this participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires." 

Many people are afraid that this type of journalism are jeopardizing what they call "real journalism"; serious, dedicated and professional writing about what are considered the most important, relevant and shocking news. However, I personally believe that participatory journalism is not a threat, it's a way of interacting and exchanging information with people that have similar interests to you, and t
his is exactly what blogs are for. 
Here is a list of the characteristics about participatory journalism that I consider very positive:

  • People are able to read and write about the subjects they prefer. It allows independency of information to individual needs and interests.
    "In the future, online news would give readers the ability to choose only the topics and sources that interested them" - Nicholas Negroponte.
  • There will be decentralization of information as well as more news to compare and contrast
     "The question is not about greater personalization but greater perspective" - 
    Watts Wacker. 
  • People have the opportunity to exchange opinions, personal believes and personal feelings, it is based on interactivity. "This kind of high-tech interaction is a journalism that resembles conversation again" - Kovach and Rosenstiel. 
This is a very interesting video in which Perry Mehrling (a professor of economics in Barnard College in New York City who received his Ph.D in Harvard University) talks about his recent and new experience with blogs and how new media became the go-to resource during the global financial collapse and how they might grow in importance over the old media in the future.

The Role of Blogs and New Media During the Global Crisis

At the beginning of the economic crisis, Perry Mehrling started to write to the editor Financial Times about the situation as well as posting in Martin Wolf's blog. As the crisis got worst, he realized that there were many other blogs related to the subject and that they were a much faster way to keep up with the financial situation, they were ahead of normal newspapers.

He has learned from blogs that...
"When things are happening, there are more media sources of information that are faster. The new media, the blogging world has broken down all the controls about who gets to talk and who gets to listen".

 don't give you respect because you are for example a professor, you get respect for whether you have something to say that makes any sense [...] you are at the same level as other people, and there are people who know more about specific details that I do, and so I read them and I learn."

"It is extremely fascinating to hear people's conversation. You can look and listen to it until you are ready to participate yourself".

In conclusion, as Rosenberg said: "Weblogs aren’t competing with the work of the professional journalism establishment, but rather completing it". 

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