For most of the last century, professional broadcast journalists covered everything from presidential elections to war, marches on capitals and sporting events. While the journalists possessed the necessary education to cover the events, they also had the expensive equipment required to do so. They held the microphones and the cameras and only they had the ability to capture the content and provide it to their news stations.
With the advent of the Internet and smartphones with quality video cameras, citizen journalism has spread and become easier than ever before. While this should not detour you from following your dreams to become a broadcast journalist, it is necessary to understand how citizen journalism has become widespread and how more and more individuals are able to help cover news and provide additional insight not previously available.
The improvement in mobile technology has made it possible for citizen journalism to thrive. A decade ago, individuals did not possess the ability to capture quality video on their cell phones and then upload it to the Internet. Smartphones were just becoming an available option, and while citizen journalism did exist prior to this, those who captured video content had to either manually record on a different computer and then send it to news organizations or attempt to sell it to local broadcast stations. Modern technology has made it so much easier to share video and image content.
Social media plays an important role in citizen journalism. Not only are individuals able to instantly upload content to news websites, they can share it on their own social media accounts, which can then be viewed by friends, who might share the material, which expands its outreach. Posting content as an open product, tagging it through sites like Twitter or posting it to YouTube exposes the content for the rest of the world to see.
Never before have regular people had the ability to share their own personal vantage point, all without having any sort of news websites at all. While they might not have the very best equipment or the very best vantage point, a mobile smartphone is easy to carry around and they can capture news on the spot, when it happens. Now that cellphones are everywhere and most everyone has social media, they can instantly share the material with the rest of the world.
24-hour News Broadcasting
News is now a 24-hour spectacle. For decades, people received their news in two traditional methods. They opened up the morning newspaper to see what transpired throughout the world over the previous day and they turned on their television sets to watch the evening news, which provided 30 minute synopses of world news and 30 minutes of local news.
While these forms of broadcast news are still popular, news is now a form of entertainment. This is why 24-hour news stations are able to thrive. Fox News, regardless of what your opinion is of it, is one of the most popular stations in the United States, because of its ability to both bring in news stories but also entertain.
News is now a business and not just a means to educate viewers and listeners. In order to help ensure viewers receive 24-hours of news, citizen journalism is often required and desired. Now, many elements of news programming are based on what citizens capture with their own technology and share with the rest of the world through social media accounts. And there’s sure to be much more of that in the future.