Citizen Journalist

As communication technologies advance and expand our technoculture, reporting on local news and events via online channels have become easily accessible, anyone can become what is called a ‘citizen journalist’. Wikipedia explains citizen journalism: “Citizens playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analysing, and disseminating news and information” ( Global news site CNN created iReport ( which allows readers/viewers to report local news, from their point of view, and post it. No post is edited or fact-checked before posting, the posts that have been cleared by CNN are marked with “CNN iReport”. With sites such as iReport we can obtain news that would not normally make headline news, we can see news from different angles and potentially a greater understanding of what may actually be going on in communities. More recently, there was a citizen journalism website set up in Australia for the 2013 Federal Election ( Now that the election is over, they are focussing on the Coal Seam Gas (CSG) campaign. Whoever would like to contribute to the site and tell of their story from their community, how they have been affected or their actions to prevent mining companies advancing can sign up for a fee of $5 a month. They adhere to the MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics, “Respect for truth and the public’s right to information…” ( Citizen journalism websites are heavily based on user-generated content.

Paul Lewis, in the video I have embedded, explains examples of citizen journalism. One particular case he worked on was a man who was struck by police and then died at a G20 summit in London. Police released an official statement of their version of the story and stated that the man had died of natural causes. After Paul Lewis had written an article questioning the exact cause of death, it was then citizens started to send in photos of the man lying down and seemingly talking to police. A few days later, a business man from New York got in contact with Paul Lewis who actually had video of the incident. Paul Lewis distributed the video and the police officer was then held accountable for the man’s death. The importance of citizen journalism benefits society from police brutality or potential cover ups/conspiracy. The real stories are being told rather than society being restricted from information.

Participatory Content (Computer Games)

Carmageddon: Reincarnation

An example of participatory content in computer games would be the upcoming instalment of Carmageddon. Stainless Games started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of the game (Goal was $400,000, they raised $625,143). At different tiers pledgers could contribute their ideas for the game content. For a pledge of $750 the pledgers could come with cosmetic designs for add-ons for cars and be credited. With a pledge of $1,000 the pledgers could have their image incorporated into the game as a pedestrian. $2500 or more would see pledgers have their image inserted to the games billboards and holographic ad stands and be credited. By incorporating consumers

Participatory Content (Film)

Veronica Mars

Similar to the Carmageddon Kickstarter campaign; the extinct TV series, Veronica Mars, began a campaign (target $2m, earned $5,702,153). If you wanted to be in the movie as an extra, have a speaking role or create a name of a character, all you had to do was pledge at the appropriate tier.

With including the fans/viewers and involving in either the creation process or the final product itself, people are more engaged. Evidence that movie ‘big wigs’ are taking notice of viewers/fans wanting to participate and use them to help fund projects.


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