Citizen Journalism: The Times They Are a’ Changin

March 22, 2009

The New York Times will launch local citizen journalism sites that will focus on five communities in New Jersey and Brooklyn.  Most of the contributions will come from local resisdents but a full-time staffer from the Times will oversee each site.

Contributors will file stories, photos, and other forms of media on a volunteer basis.  Despite the move to this innovative form of journalism, the Times says they are not replacing suburban coverage, but rather seeing if this is a new kind of journalism they can be part of.  The Times is still unsure of how to go about profiting of the sites, but say that it will add another element and give voices to those who would otherwise go unheard.  

The sites will be linked to the Times homepage and they will expand to other communities if they are successful. 

In my opinion, the new aspects of journalsim such as citizen journalism and crowdfunding will never be capable of recreating what newspapers have provided throughout the years.  However,  I feel they will serve their communities well if they stand as a supplement to newspapers and online news sites, rather than a replacement.  Funding and the quality of journalism provided by untrained citizens could be a problem.  Its kind of like sending a volunteer firefighter into a buring house with no previous training.  Nevertheless, as local coverage diminshes with the death of newspapers, these new forms of media, if managed correctly, may help mitigate the damages to a degree.

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