We are no longer just ‘the audience’. The internet has led to the rise of the participatory culture to flourish and user-led content creation is showing no chance of slowing down. The traditional passive consumer is evolving into an active consumer, producing, sharing and consuming content. Since the arrival of the internet, the rise of citizen journalism has resulted in mainstream journalism being viewed as dying or already dead.
Citizen journalists essentially have nothing to lose because the internet has no cost of entry, no gatekeepers and no up-front risks. On the other hand, every aspect of mainstream journalism is in crisis because the internet is an uncontrollable powerful medium. Traditional news media provides the audience with an agglomeration of news in one package, it has the ability to deliver trustworthy information and sell advertising space at inflated prices. Therefore, over the top advertisement prices fund the survival of newspapers. Subsequently, the internet provided a new inexpensive advertisement environment allowing advertisers to reach a global audience. The graph below clearly illustrates the decline in newspaper advertisement revenue as a result of the internet. Ultimately for traditional news media to survive there is the need to charge all content online and abolish citizen journalism.
Citizen journalism has evolved into a successful user led online phenomenon. The eBizMBA Ranks reveals the top 3 most popular blogs for May 2013 are the Huffington Post, TMZ and The Business Insider. The Huffington Post received an estimated 54,000,000 unique monthly visitors. The statistic reveals Newspapers are becoming less popular and more people are receiving their news online. The internet has allowed citizen journalism to be an open process and where authority is non-existent. According to Axel Bruns, (2007) he describes “the concept of produsage as model of describing today’s emerging user-led content creation environments.” Citizen journalists are continuing to collaborate and are developing ways to extend existing content in the pursuit of further improvement.
The internet has enabled citizen journalist to bring hidden news to life, via producing and sharing content on social networking such as Facebook which thrives on ‘citizen journalism’. Recently, The Huffington Post revealed the power of social media and how Facebook provided the first photo of suspect 2 in the Boston Marathon bombings. The article reveals David Green, a Boston Marathon runner, captured a photo of suspect 2 with his iPhone 4S shortly after the two blasts exploded near the finishing line. It clearly indicates, Citizen journalists are powerful members of society.
Due to the rate of convergence, citizen journalism will continue to have a major impact on the survival of traditional news media forms. The future of mainstream journalism looks bleak, while the popularity and power of citizen journalism will continue to rise.
Bruns, Axel (2007) Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation. In Proceedings Creativity & Cognition 6, Washington, DC. http://eprints.qut.edu.au/6623/1/6623.pdf