Citizen Journalism- The Story Of The People

Module 7- Major blog post

It is in this class that I first read of the concept of “Citizen’s Journalism”. I had always just thought of tweets and blogs as personal opinion pieces that I wasn’t all that interested in. I grew up assuming that what the news anchor said on television every night at 6pm was the whole truth and the only way to see certain issues. This class has, however, opened my eyes to the consideration that maybe not all people in the news are completely right.

In Bruns and Highfield’s article entitled “Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news: The produsage of citizen journalism”, they state that “Arguably, citizen journalism began as a direct and determined response to the perceived shortcomings of mainstream journalist coverage”(Bruns and Highfield). This reminds me of the Newsreel movement in documentary filmmaking in the late 1960s/early 1970s. Newsreel was a production and distribution company founded in 1967 in New york city and was a response to the political turmoil that surrounded the Vietnam war and the Civil Rights movement. Newsreel was created by a collective of journalists, filmmakers, photographers and those who were simply dissatisfied with the ‘establishment’ reportage of the mainstream media. Its aim was to present an alternative news source by making documentaries which would educate and inform the American public about issues they heard about on the news. I suppose we could consider this an early form of citizen journalism.

What I’ve understood about citizen journalism from the readings and my peers’ blogs is that it is now up to outside people to bring forth a potential argument to the mainstream media’s issues. It is up to us to go and find out if what they are saying is true and the right perspective. By reading blog articles and twitter feeds, we are exposed to issues and arguments that might not be readily available by mainstream news sources.

The two questions we were asked of in this module are as follows:
1) What new opportunities for citizen journalism and/or social activism are afforded
by social media?
2) Does the emergence of these new opportunities encourage you to participate more
directly in citizen journalism and/or social activism or not?

So to further answer the first question beyond what I’ve already said, social media are a fantastic way to find these citizen journalism posts. However, one must also keep in mind that many of the people on webites such as twitter are not necessarily the best sources for finding out information. It is very easy for someone to post a tweet or a blog ranting about their personal opinion on an issue, but again, one must be wary about the information they provide. Although I believe that Citizen journalism is a great way to find out different sides to many different topics and worldly issues, it is also a great way to be misinformed and get yourself into more trouble then its worth.

Now, in regards to the second question. Do these new opportunities for citizen journalism make me want to be more active and participate more in these discussions about social activism and such? My immediate thought is that I don’t have time to be active in the citizen journalism community and I’m too busy with school and work to get involved with social activism. But then on the other hand, could I consider my freetime consisting of lurking around on social media sites as part of this movement? Although I don’t go out of my way to write long blogs (outside of these module posts), I suppose I could consider my time reading and the occasional commenting on my twitter feed a form of citizen journalism.

In Alfred Hermida’s article entitled “Tweets and Truth”, he describes twitter as “Ambient Journalism”:
“Ambient journalism conceptualizes Twitter as an awareness system where multifaceted,
real-time digital networks enable the flow of news and information in the periphery of a
user’s awareness. As ambient journalism, Twitter provides a mix of news, information and
comment, usually connected to current reality, but without an established order. As a
result, journalism is not just in the process of negotiating a shift to a digital media
environment, but more significantly to a networked one (Singer, 2010)”. (Hermida, 660-661)

So I suppose, in this context, I’m contributing to the movement by retweeting and favouriting other peoples posts, as well as the occasional response to a tweet.

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Citizen Journalism on Storify

Module 7- Citizen Journalism

The task for this week’s assigned module is to create a account, and begin a process of citizen journalism. Although it wasn;t necessary, I posted a link to my storify article here on my blog.

I chose to do my “story” on the gender roles of women in a professional field. It looks at career women and feminists and how they are stereotypcially percieved in a media spotlight.


[View the story “Professional Gender of Women in Media” on Storify]

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Music Makes The People Come Together … Yeah?

Module 6- Major Blog Post/Podcast

Good day readers! Today I bring you a different form of blogging, a podcast, which i’ve never done before so you’ll have to bear with me here.

The guiding questions posted for this podcast are as follows:

“1. Describe the criteria and/or rationalizations that you utilize when you purchase music as opposed to sharing it. How do your practices conflict with and/or support copyright issues and IP regimes?

2. Copyright legislation in the recorded music industry and the practices of consumers appear to be going in opposite directions in an untenable way. Given your own experience (noted above) what suggestions would you make for the recording industry with regard to how they might deal with what they perceive to be piracy.”

So in regards to these two questions on digital piracy, I chose a quote from page 344 of Ian Condry’s article entitled “Cultures of music piracy; an enthographic comparison of the US and Japan”, which states that

“Music is one of the key battlegrounds for power in the media, in part because what happens with music businesses is likely to influence other publishing and entertainment industries. The stakes are high not only because the record companies are suffering, but because the impasse between the file-sharers and the recording industry is only one aspect of larger transformations underway, shifts which highlight the conflicting demands of civil society, where information and ideas should be freely exchanged, and an information economy, where cultural goods play an increasingly important role in the marketplace. To an extent, the RIAA is right. The problem is cultural and the consequences are economic. Yet it is surprising how little analysis has been devoted to the links between the presumed culture of piracy and the activities that create conditions of growth in the entertainment world in the first place. Can the industry association teach (or enforce) ‘respect for property’ while building a healthy music market in the digital age? It is naive to think that such changes can take place without a careful look at what fans are doing and why.”

Steinmetz, K., K. Tunnell (2013). Under the Pixelated Jolly Roger: A Study of On-Line PiratesDeviant Behavior. 34 (1), pg. 53-67
Condry, Ian. (2004). Cultures of Music Piracy: An Ethnographic Comparison of the US and JapanInternational Journal of Cultural Studies. 7 (3), pg. 343-363
Oh, and here’s that link to Rdio!
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Hitchcock Films Are The Bomb

Module 5- Video Project
Produce a short film on a topic of interest to you

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Lazy Producers and Bored Consumers

Module 5- Major Blog posting

The discussion question at hand for this major blog post is a loaded question that greatly influences today’s technological society:

“How can online communities of “producer-consumers” literate in new media work toward building a robust and freely accessible cultural commons in the face of restrictive copyright laws?”

With the growing online technology available to us, development of new media outlets have been born. Alex Miller writes in his blog that “With new media comes a whole new kind of community, one that has no borders and exists purely online” ( and boy is that ever true. With the constant building of online communities, be it on social networks like Facebook or Twitter, or on forum websites like Reddit, they have all redefined the concept of community and put it into a purely online sphere. These online communities now exist purely online and the people have very little to no face to face meetings.

(In this case specifically, lets just exclude Facebook and consider websites like Twitter and Reddit. Since most people on Facebook only add people they have actually met/are friends with in real life!)

So with this idea of an online community, we must also consider what kind of information is being produced and consumed by the people involved. Do they actually come up with their own material, or is it a literal “copy-and-paste” situation from other peoples work, without citation or acknowledgement of the original author? Then, since there is no citation, how do we actually know who the original author is?

In the article the cultural logic of media convergence by Henry Jenkins, he makes the argument that “no one knows everything, everyone knows something, all knowledge resides in humanity.”(Jenkins) This is exactly what one should consider when thinking about producers and consumers of online content. Although everyone who is online consuming material, very few actually produce their own material online.

“according to 2007 statistics, only between 0.5 %– 1.5 % users of most popular social media sites (Flickr, YouTube, Wikipedia) contributed their own content. Others remained consumers of the content produced by this 0.5 – 1.5%” (Manovich, 2008)

This statistic in Lev Manovich’s article entitled “The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life: From Mass Consumption to Mass Cultural Production” is depressing but extremely believable.  The amount of people who produce other people’s work and claim it as their own is becoming a more and more popular problem with these online communities. Lets take into consideration the recently popularized “meme” fad. It is nearly impossible to go back through the history of a picture and find out who the author is, or who the person in the picture is. So the question I then ask is, Are internet memes subject to copyright and trademark laws? Especially the ones featuring an image from a movie or television show that are probably trademarked or at least have some type of intellectual property rights involved with them. Yet they keep on being produced and re-produced for our visual enjoyment.

Meme Infringement

A similar idea to this was brought up by one of my classmates. In the blog entitled “I’m Marky Mark and I’m here to move you”, Izbah writes that “People say that because of digital technology, making a movie is easier than ever in this day and age, and this is very true, yet people choose to take copyrighted content, remix it, maybe add some pictures or a background and then claim it as their own on their personal Youtube page.”( This idea is very similar to the concept of the internet meme (and depending on the movies content, might very well include them!)

So I leave you with one question. Do you believe that online communities of “producers and consumers” are actually producing new forms of media? Or are they just a “copy-and-paste” fad?

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Consumption and Production of Online Material

Module 5- Minor Blog Post

Before this course started, I never really considered my role in social media and it’s content. Yes, I had Facebook and Twitter accounts, but I never really thought about how it influenced the people reading the content I posted online. This blog, for one, has changed the way I produce content, as well as the topics of discussion I write about. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’ve “redefined” my online persona because of this course, but I feel much more aware of what I’m posting.

In Lev Manovich’s article, “The Practice of Everyday (media) Life”, he writes:

“As De Certeau po(i)nts out, in modern societies most of the objects which people use in their everyday life are mass produced goods; these goods are the expressions of strategies of designers, producers, and marketers. People build their worlds and identities out of these readily available objects by using different tactics: bricolage, assembly, customization, and – to use the term which was not a part of De Certeau’s vocabularly but which has become important today – remix.” (Manovich, 6).

This is a perfect example and explanation of how people control the personal online content they produce. Nearly every piece of information produced online by an individual user is thought about, planned out, customized to that specific person and then finally released. I know from personal experience, even on a website like Twitter, I think about what I want to tweet, begin to over think the wording of my tweets, change them to fit my personal style, and finally releasing them to the critique of the twitter-verse. I am always so conscious of how my released online content is going to perceive, it often limits how much I actually release.

In regards to consumption of online material, I fall into the “over-consumption of fairly useless material” category of consumers. I, unfortunately, get caught up with social media websites that it often distracts me from actual work (I say this as I am both writing this blog and searching on Pinterest…). I am often caught consuming material that will allow me to have a vast random fact library, but is hardly considered academic or intellectual in any sense. Websites like Twitter and Pinterest are indeed cures for boredom but aren’t really something to be proud to announce you consume on an hourly basis.

Toby Miller argues that, “Consumption is the key to the new economy/creativity mantra.” (Miller, 6) in his article “A View from a Fossil”. The idea that online consumption is transforming the way people act and create content is highly believable. Thanks to the Internet, at the click of a button we have the world at our fingertips. Any question can be answered via a search engine like Google, so its not surprising that people are smarter, more creative, and more knowledgeable, all thanks to this growing technology.

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Information Nation!

Module 3- Minor Blog Post

What does it mean to say we live in the information age?

It means that we crave the ability to have easy access to knowledge. With the oh so brilliant invention called the Internet, society as a whole now has nearly instant access to any and all information they require.

Now, Is this a good or bad thing?

Our society is now more interested in the consumption of pure information, verses the consumption of manufactured goods. We are living in what is referred to as a “post-industrial society” because we are no longer interested in the industry creating the products we were once interested in. We are now fascinated by technologies beyond what can be held in our hands. We obsess with the fact that we have immediate access to information via the internet and other media sources. We no longer have to go searching for things we are interested in. Finding information is as easy as these simple steps:

1)   Open a laptop or turn on a desktop computer

2)   Connect to the internet

3)   Open web browser

4)   Enter into the URL field

And there you have all the answers your heart may desire.

Or, even simpler then that, turn on you TV and watch the news.

The amount of people in today’s society with a television and internet access in their home is astounding. It is so incredibly rare to find a home without either one or the other in households with people under the age of 80. This fact alone proves how important access to information in today’s society affects how one lives their lives.

Internet = Knowledge

Knowledge = Intelligence

Therefore, Internet = The smartest idea since sliced bread

So stick that in your web browser and search it!


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