Citizen Journalism

When ordinary people all over the world use whatever resources are available to them to start contributing their footage and stories and specialized information to on-line news sites, normally we hear or see things that we would not other wise have if it were left up to the mainstream media and their “consensus manufacturing” editing machinery. This has led to the emerging new phenomenon of “citizen journalism” or “participatory journalism”, the new buzzwords in the media industry. Suddenly everyone’s mother and their dog has put up a blog and bandwidth is being clogged with snaps and amateur videos of anything from kitty making a poo to victims of disasters co-ordinating rescue and support network missions.

There is lots of heated debate as to the value and substance of this type of content, but one thing is for sure: love it or leave it, the age of citizen journalism is here.

On this page I will also post writings and links concerning Political Philosophy and Online Activism.

I studied Law and Political Science at Stellenbosch University in the early 1990’s, and although a lot has changed, both in the outside world and in my personal life, I find the subject matter of Political Philosphy interests me still very much. At the moment I am trying to read up on and become more familiar with the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, mostly known for his Social Contract .

Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Social Contract - Title page

There are many resources online for helping people learn about Political Activism, and how to make their voices heard regarding the issues that affect them. The internet has become a very valuable and powerful tool in this regard, and some of the resources I have found useful, will be pointed to or shared on this page.

One of the most useful tools in the blogger and online activist’s arsenal has been the Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber Dissidents

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber Dissidents

From the Handbook’s Introduction page at the Reporters without Borders website:

Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they’re tremendous tools of freedom of expression.
Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest.
Reporters Without Borders has produced this handbook to help them, with handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles.”

Another very valuable resource, especially in the context of Bloggers being dismissed as not being serious journalists, is the Handbook of Independent Journalism by Deborah Potter.

Handbook of Independent Journalism - Cover

This professionally produced journalism text will be invaluable to Bloggers and others producing content for public consumption, whether it be for online or traditional methods of publishing.

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