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Ordinary people taking on the role of media producers has many questioning whether it is creating problems or if it is improving news coverage

Many of us can attest to seeing footage of events that have yet to make the news on our social media news feeds. It is clear that with the ever-growing number of cellphone users and the increasing role of social media in society, citizens have the means to engage in what is called citizen journalism. This phenomenon can be defined as having ordinary people, without any journalism training, taking on the role of media producers by continuously looking for events worth sharing with their circle of friends. Whether the practice is having positive or negative effects is a question that has many divided.

Supporters of citizen journalism argue that this act encourages and brings about an improvement of news coverage. The logic behind this revolves around the idea that there are more eyes on the lookout for news worth sharing. For instance, we can take the example of the video footage showing a British soldier, Lee Rigby, being murdered. According to an article posted in The Economist website, the video was captured by a by-stander way before journalists and producers were able to hear from it . If it wasn't for this man's willingness to report what was going on, the journalists and producers would not have the first hand video account of the incident. This is an example of how both citizens and professional journalists can work side by side to produce media coverage that gives the public reliable information. 

Those who oppose citizen journalism believe that skepticism arises when ordinary people, without any training or schooling, begin to share information online. This idea encompasses the fact that journalists undergo training in order to avoid transmitting their own biases when reporting events or sharing information. People believe that one is quick to persuade rather than inform when posting on their personal social media which leads to problems and a misinterpretation of facts. As pointed out in the article "Ethics in Citizen Journalism" featured in The Examiner, stories published by citizens are harder to verify since they are mainly eye witnesses and if there is a video footage you are only seeing the parts that the person wants you to see and not getting the big picture. 

Just with any topic, both sides of the argument present valid points when it comes to deciding whether or not citizen journalism is creating a positive change in the world of journalism. It is up to the audience to decide if the information posted in the internet is reliable and trustworthy regardless of where it may come from.

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