In class, we’ve discussed what is it that distinguishes a genre. There are many in journalism, but ideally they all share the same purpose, and that is to inform the anticipated audience about a whole range of topics. Participatory journalism is classified as a branch of mainstream journalism, or even a genre in itself. It’s all news and reports “by the people” and “for the people”. Those who participate are considered to be the “citizen reporters” or “amateur/native reporters and writers”. They are essential to collecting, reporting, and analyzing news and information. The classifications of writers differ in participatory versus professional journalism. These people aren’t necessarily authorities when it comes to these subjects, but they do have opinions. Generally, anyone can be a participatory journalist. These people can join in and give their thoughts and opinions on subjects that are chosen are news topics that have already covered. Some of these citizens can be referred to as bloggers, and they comment on and link to news stories, which many don’t see as being journalism. There’s a reason it’s not professional journalism, because the average person can give their input, but since they’re relying on their owned gathered information and research, it’s considered amateur.
In Alternative and Activist New Media, Lievrouw openly states that participatory journalism looks out to “provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires” (145). I think it opens up opportunities for the public to voice out their issues that aren’t considered “important enough” for a mainstream news broadcaster to cover. This allows people to be able to see the different view points on current events, and not be inclined to just one fact and one opinion.
I researched participatory journalism websites and I came across the link… http://www.thirdreport.com/
Just glancing at the different topics and reading the titles of these reports, it easy to notice that they’re very specific stories that may not be “breaking news” but are issues that affecting communities and the citizens within these communities. Websites such as these are a great way to spread the word, and other citizen journalists can tap in, and not have to rely solely on professional journalists. Just because they’re not exposed through mainstream media… does it make them irrelevant? I wouldn’t say so.