Why Citizen Journalism Is Need Of Hour

By: Ash, 2016-04-01 11:34:00.0Category:  Exemplar
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Up until very recently, traditional journalism was more passive than active. Citizens were supposed to consume news through various outlets made available to them via media houses like newspapers, magazines, radio and so on. There was little if no participation on part of us, the citizens. With the advent of technology came a new breed of reporters, citizen journalists. 

Citizens started being more active now that they were armed with camera and a new ways to share their voice – social media. Not perfect, social media allowed citizens to make a difference and play an important role when the world witnessed the Tahiti earthquake or when the people moved with the Delhi Odd Even plan. With Freelance Journalists being a part of the Journalist ecosystem, it is not a new phenomenon for citizens to contribute to News. But what has changed significantly is the recent years in technology. With a mobile phone at your disposal anyone can become a freelance journalist. 

The Rise of the Citizen Journalism

Recognizing the power of the citizens and their inherent ability to report faster on events happening around the world, many traditional media houses have started playing with the idea of providing a platform to the citizens for reporting news.  Though not perfect and certainly not dedicated to the citizens, these outlets are trying to encourage citizens to report on events in their localities. Anyone powered with a Journalist app (Journalism app ), can become a reporter. With more outlets to share information in the terms of Whatsapp group / Facebook, traditional consumers of news have become the new power to generate news. 

Power of Citizen Journalists

Let us have a closer look at the term Citizen Journalism and understand what it means to participate in this movement. 

To make things simple, citizen journalism essentially means reporting on events that’s happening around you in real time. This is exactly what professional journalists / reporters are doing and have been doing. But there is more to it than that and in this post, we are going to touch some of these important guidelines for journalists / citizen journalists. Citizen journalism has taken so many different forms in the last decade, that it has practically blurred the line. Anything from videos, podcast, blogs, photoblogs and social media can be termed as citizen journalism. People are sharing information left, right and center. All this has been made possible with the help of internet and mobile technology.

How citizen journalism can make a difference? 

Now that we have begun to understand the concept and importance of being a citizen journalist, let us have a look at some instances where citizens were able to make a difference by reporting on events that took place around them.

2010 Tahiti Earthquake: 

Tahiti was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake at 21:53 GMT killing over 100,000 people. Citizens rose to the challenge and started covering the unfortunate event on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. A Wikipedia page was later created where FAQs was curated and shared. 

Citizens actually helped authorities with distribution of aids, sharing channels of communication that were still working, transportation modes that were still open and even create awareness about various fund raising initiatives and contributing to the same. It took professional journalists sometime before they could reach Tahiti, a remote and poor area, but citizen journalists started covering the scene long before that. 

Delhi Odd Even Formula Implementation

When Arvind Kejriwal decided to implement the Odd Even formula, an inspiration that he took from the Chinese Govt., he officially roped in Twitter to help deliver real time notifications to Delhi citizens. The idea was to help commuters reach their destination without flouting the rule in the fastest way possible. pollutionfreedelhi was the official hashtag and commuters could find information on public transport in their respective areas. 

Citizen Journalism in India

India is not new to the concept of citizen journalism. Most of the media houses in India have been always ears to what people have to say. And in many newspapers we do see photographs / articles of select people. The one sad thing about the view of citizen Journalism in India is that it is seen as a social service. In most cases , citizen journalism is discarded as unprofessional, not factual and in accurate. Hence the idea of citizen journalism as a business model has not yet thrived in India.

With the advent of technology , now the time is right for allowing the participation of citizens to make news. With the power of mobility and powered by camera phones, citizens can become the eyes and ears of media houses. This opportunity lead to the birth of Hocalwire

What is Hocalwire doing for this?

Hocalwire is a platform that offers a unique opportunity to the citizens of India, an opportunity to not only consume daily news but be part of it by becoming a citizen journalist. Hocalwire is a news publication that covers locally relevant news. We offer citizens an opportunity to share news and participate in the process by sharing facts and breaking stories that takes place around them. We truly believe in the phrase “By the people, for the people and of the people”.  Hocalwire wants to empower the citizens by guiding them to become journalist on the go. Our mission is to use the power of citizen journalism and mobile technology to make way for what we call Hocalism, Journalism 2.0.

For the first time, you, the citizens of the country will have the power to report news as it is. Hocalwire and the citizens of India have one vision – true fact based news. No distortion. But we have more to offer than just an outlet to share facts and break stories. We actually reward your efforts. 

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