In modern times the estates of the realm references the three powers of government. Legislature, administration and the judiciary. The fourth estate or the fourth branch of government is the press, which plays a very important part in political outcomes and issues. It is also a crucial part of democracy, monitoring the powerful and the people who govern us. With the world altering introduction of the internet, the fifth estate has emerged combining social issues with cultural factors through blogging, social media, video streaming sites, etc. This has also opened up the ability for citizens to speak out. Citizen journalist can now actively be involved in a democratic right and in turn be empowered by the process of reporting news and issues in their area. This is most important in countries with little or no free press. With the wide range of the internet, people can post, record and blog of wrongdoings.
The partnership of traditional journalism and citizen journalism will produce the best possible form of free speech and current affairs. The power of bloggers, Youtube channels, etc has put pressure on corporate news agencies to take notice. Corporate news agencies can be bias, politically or through corporate influence, and steer their journalist in a different path of the absolute truth. Citizen news can be gathered from the words of people actually involved or directly affected by a certain issue. In many cases, where journalist are banned from a situation, citizens on the frontlines or near breaking news can post immediately what is going on through words, photos and videos.
What are the issues with citizen journalism? How well written are the articles? How reliable are they? Not all writers are academically educated There is great importance in communicating well through literacy, yet, it is even more important to encourage people to speak out and tell communities and the world what is going on. Contributing to citizen news sites could help empower those who didn’t think they had a voice. Is the citizen writing from emotion, like anger, and are they stating facts? Interested citizens should always speak of the facts, keep emotions under control and if possible, document by notes, audio or video. Organizations and institutions like Poynter Institute and World Blog Expo are helping to educate and strength those who are interested in getting involved. With respect to reliability,time will tell if a certain blog or citizen news source is reliable, respectable or if they are hate or rag sites. In traditional news, thereare newspapers that report the ridiculous and outrageous, The National Enquirer, The Sun are papers labelled Tabloids. Most people know the difference between reputable papers and tabloids, as their reputation is built over time and experience by their content and quality of the content. When individual citizen news sites start to produce and publish honest writing from concerned people all over the world then the stronger the reputation of that site becomes. The power and broad span of the internet can reach to some of the remote areas of the world. As the small local papers informed us on issues that affect our local communities, our schools, council meetings, etc, worldwide citizen news sites can present us with issues in far away communities. Why is this important? As a citizen from a democratic country it should concern us if human rights, corporate wrong doing, environmental damage is affecting a community that has little help from its own governed body. Maybe it is an issue we have in our own backyard; could we possible help each other out?
This new way of reporting the news is here to stay. Everyone can help hold governments and establishments responsible and gain transparency from those who wish to keep us in the dark. If you have discovered wrong doing, are concerned about changes in your community or wish to speak out and help bring justice or transparency to light, you can email Citizen World News Report or search and discovery the many reputable sites available on the Web.
Citizen World News Staff Writer
April 23, 2019