Studying in a World Where Everyone is Considered a Journalist

It’s a common occurrence to be laughed and scoffed at when proclaiming I am currently studying journalism with comments such as “Anyone is a journalist”, or “Do a real degree.” The survival of Civilian journalism is threatened especially with the emergence of social media platforms such as YouTube, the idea of blogging and Twitter, where news often breaks before it does in mainstream media. Civilian journalism is quite simply when private individuals do essentially what professional reporters do – report information. Although a threat to traditional professional journalism, civilian journalism is an exciting concept. It allows for news stories to break even faster and a different side of the story to be shared. For instance Osama bin Laden’s raid and death, one of the biggest news stories of 2011, was reported unwittingly in tweets by a local IT consultant one day before Barack Obama announced it to the world. The number of news stories that break on Twitter before mainstream media is quite substantial with other famous examples including Whitney Huston’s death which broke on Twitter an hour before any mainstream media. The increased rate of exposure to breaking stories through the aid of civilian journalism is what I find exciting. As the digital world develops and the number of communication channels explode in number  it is increasingly hard to judge the value of amateur eyewitness film shot on a mobile phone and posted on the internet against a considered, observational documentary broadcast or a 6:00pm news bulletin on mainstream television. (The guardian). This is why I believe there will always be a need for professional journalist however as civilian journalism becomes more mainstream our jobs will shift from on the ground reporting to sorting fact from fiction.