By Chelsey Teachout
Tim Riley, an NPR rock critic, recently gave a lecture at Drake University called “Let Freedom Leak“. The lecture focused on free speech rights from Wikileaks to social media in the Egyptian protests.
One of his questions was, “Does the internet convey a platform for democracy?”
While this is a huge question for the future, journalists should also ask themselves if mainstream or standard journalism is a platform for democracy. Does standard journalism give all the information it can? Perhaps the rise of citizen journalism is the supplemental answer.
Citizen journalism is the direct relay of information without edits or organizational filters. This type of journalism does not have the same sifting process that professional journalism has. Companies like Facebook and Twitter allow those with internet access to report current events. These “reports” or updates may not be as accurate, but they provide much more people with a voice and more information.
Citizen journalism changed with Wikileaks. This non-profit media organization provides an “anonymous way for independent sources around the world to leak information to (its) journalists.” This platform allows journalism to meet eye to eye with citizens. Wikileaks is not an aspect of direct citizen journalism, but it bridges the gap to make it easier for more citizens to report the news.
How do you think the hybrid of citizen journalism and Wikileaks affects democracy in journalism?