The creation of the Internet has given average people the opportunities that were once only available to reporters: the opportunity to transmit information globally. Because of this, a new kind of journalism has risen up that is known as citizen journalism.
Back in 2005, a lawsuit filed by Apple drew into debate the question: who should be considered a journalist? The case involved Apple company secrets that were published on blogging Web sites. Apple filed a lawsuit against the sources of the leaks and asked the court to compel the Web sites to reveal their sources of who leaked the information. A California statute grants reporters certain privileges, such as the right to keep sources confidential. However, some blogs are becoming so powerful that they are becoming news sources for wide groups of the general public. So should these bloggers be extended the same rights as journalists?
Bloggers are different from journalists, because they usually clearly state their opinions. While journalists strive to maintain objective. Blogger Randall C. Kennedy wrote in one of his blog posts, “Bloggers are not journalists. Real journalists have ethics. They check their facts and follow well established rules of conduct: Don’t fabricate; don’t obfuscate; don’t steal. Most high-profile bloggers, by contrast follow a looser, ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ philosophy. It’s all about beating the other guy to the punch by being the first to break that big scoop”.
But some bloggers really do check their sources and information before posting because their credibility is important. In the Apple case, the court concluded that the California statute of a reporter’s shield would extend to the bloggers in the case.
As a blogger, I’ll admit that there is a lot of bad blogs out there with skewed information. But that shouldn’t rule out citizen journalists that share great information that is truly helpful!
Check out Arianna Huffington, Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post, as she talks about her take on citizen journalism