Article summary: Braham and Rodrigues

In Honours blog on August 5, 2009 at 8:56 am

Braham, Emily and Rodrigues, Usha M. “Citizen Journalism in Australia”, presented at Convergence, Citizen Journalism & Social Change: Building Capacity at the University of Queensland, 2008.

This paper looks at how citizen journalism is being used, especially in Australia. We seem to be behind other nations, but some news organisations are being to change their habits. The lack of a major disaster is seen as a reason for our slow uptake. They see the new role of the journalist a sifter of user-contributed information and don’t think that established media is threatened by new media.

“There is a move towards accepting contributions from eyewitnesses by traditional media, due to a shift in media consumption for a 24-hour news cycle (Garrison 2005; Quinn and Quinn-Allan 2006)” (pg. 4)

“Media critics have linked the rise of user-generated content with a failing in trust with the traditional media elites and the homogeneous content often produced by mainstream media.” (pg. 4)

“he emergence of independent online media organisations and the growth of blogs are arguably representative of the failure of mainstream media to fulfil its role to the public. This effort to readdress the balance of the media, by representing often unpopular or minority views, establishes independent online journalism as a new form of alternative media.” (pg. 5)

So online media is generally there to fill a void seen in traditional news outlets. And Australian traditional media is being slow to react.

“While globally, media organisations have adapted suitably, the Australian mainstream media has been relatively slow to acclimatise to the shift of news consumption online. Most media companies within Australia have a web presence, but none have fully utilised the interactive capabilities of the online medium (Nguyen 2006;Bruns 2005(a); 2005(b))” (pg. 5)

“One of the reasons for this slow growth is because Australia has not witnessed any comparable natural or human induced disasters that have spurred widespread citizen journalism in Asia, the UK and the US.” (pg. 14)

“In an information-focused society the role of professional journalists in sifting through,modifying, editing and repackaging information into manageable formats is central to public understanding (Quinn pers. comm. 2007).” (pg. 15)

“However, the emergence of citizen media is not necessarily a direct threat to the established media. Mainstream media must learn to adapt and respond to technological advancements and changing audience demands.” (pg. 16)


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