Citizen journalists can be defined as people of the general public that analyse and share news by the means of the Internet.
‘A woman passing a serious car accident snaps a smartphone picture and posts it on her Facebook chat site with the caption, ‘bingle on the highway, hope everyone is okay‘ is an example of how citizen journalism takes place.
On the ABC’s website, the issue of citizen journalism has been addressed through the likes of interviewing a citizen journalist themselves, Mount Gambier resident, Josh Lynagh.
Lynagh started Limestone Coast Community News in 2013 and has since, reached 11,000 likes on his Facebook page. This is more than what Mount Gambier’s local newspapers Facebook page has (4,500 in 2014).
“I’ve always had a real interest in the community and what’s going on.
“I would just post the SAPOL (SA police) Limestone Coast page updates…from then I started doing fire or severe weather warnings and I started getting people messaging me about community events.”
‘Can you think of a better example of freedom of speech – or freedom of the press for that matter – than social media and citizen journalism? We’re free to express our opinions as we see fit.’
However, there is belief that citizen journalism is going to be the downfall of the industry.
‘… it gets more difficult for all of us to decide what to believe. With traditional journalism, it was safe to assume for a long time that the information we were getting was factual. Checked and re-checked for accuracy.’
“I’m literally just a guy who is very interested in the community and what’s going on,” explained Lynagh to ABC.
Citizen journalism isn’t so harmful, and both professional and citizen journalists can co exist, just as they do today.