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Can Citizen Journalism Save the Day?

Lately we have been hearing the term “citizen journalism” quite often. Citizen journalism itself is a concept where public citizens play an active role in the process of newsgathering and reporting. In Indonesia, one of the mostly used citizen journalism platform is Kompasiana.

Citizen journalism is increasingly popular at least due to two reasons: 1) the development of Internet (anyone can post anything) and 2) people’s disappointment toward unfair and biased reporting from mainstream media and/or professional journalists.

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Now from the last presidential election between Jokowi and Prabowo, we have seen how ugly our national medias are. It was said that, one who owns the media rules the nation, and it is somewhat true. Since each national media company is controlled by certain political parties or coalition, we kind of lose hope when it comes to the accurate and reliable source of information.

But hey! That is why citizen journalism emerged at the first place: to neutralize the biased information from mainstream media. Now the question is, can citizen journalism save the day?

Professional journalists often underestimate citizen journalists because they understand nothing of journalism ethical code or the right newsgathering and reporting technique. News produced by citizen journalists is often found too subjective, they say.

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Despite those claims, we still believe in the power of citizen journalism because of one thing:

Citizen journalism’s subjectivity compensates the already-subjective news from mainstream media.

Is there really any objective news in the world? Well, maybe there is, but obviously not in countries like US or Indonesia whose medias forget to be neutral. The thing is we can fight subjectivity with another subjectivity. Although news produced from the process of citizen journalism is amateurish, its variety of perspectives can enrich society’s point of views so they will not be so driven by the mainstream media.

Everyone is now “live-reporting” (image: heartland.org)

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Imagine, if everyone produces news and everyone reads it, surely there will be an overwhelming flow of information. People will be confused to differ what is right and what is wrong. But behind the confusion, our mind opens up to endless perspectives, point of views, subjectivities. Finally, if we are quite well-informed, if we are logical enough to digest every possible point of view presented to us, we would be able to draw a much better conclusion.

Professional journalists in this country may claim that they understand journalism world better, but when it comes to giving the society what they really need, citizen journalism does save the day.

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Header image credit: twelvesouth.com