Ambient Awareness & Citizen Journalism

In many of my media classes (I am a Media Studies major in addition to this Interactive Media grad program), we discuss the difference in traditional journalism and today’s journalism; a result of social media hysteria.  The demand for immediacy as well as accuracy is not a stable relationship in terms of “news”.  For example, the Newtown tragedy of last year was a very dark time not only for the victims and their families, but for the media that kept the public up to date.  The rush to be first and this ambient aware society led to false reporting and statistics.

This leads to the point that citizen journalism, or news created and spread by the general non-professional public, is not only effecting those who read the news but also those whose job it is to report it.  The need to report within seconds of incidents puts pressure on news stations to crank out information whether it’s authenticity is verified or not.  Luckily, fellow citizen journalists are becoming better and better at determining “false” news and veering towards the more thoughtful and accurate outlets.

We discussed citizen journalism and the credibility of news via social media during the group presentation.  I believe that many people who choose to Tweet, post, etc. about a public happening are normally voicing opinions or restating what the news has already put out there.  On very few occasions, aside from Twitter “celebrity death rumors” or anything of the like, do citizens actually try and become journalists in terms of “reporting first”.  Many users utilize interactive media in order to become part of the story rather than to be the person telling the story.

That being said, I don’t believe that ambient awareness in terms of citizen journalism is necessarily a bad thing.  I think that as long as the news on social media improves and begins to value accuracy over speed, it can eventually become a very reliable source for the news media and the general public alike.  It will be interesting to see all the aspects of ambient awareness that we discussed in class evolve as social and interactive media improves and gets closer to being perfected.

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