Citizen Journalism - Hope on the Horizon


May 29, 2009. The wait is finally over. New Delhi is organizing for yet another innings in dynamic governance. This time a host of young blood is on the scene bringing in with them a wide range of experience in and out of politics. What is the role of the citizen journalism in a democracy like India?

Citizen journalism has major roles to play as long as it can motivate the regular Internet user along with his regular jaunts by adding the function of contributing content to the citizen journalism corpus of information already gaining immense popularity on the Net.

Its simple. Can you send an e-mail with an attachment? Then you have what it takes to publish content with pictures! The traditional journalist has decidedly undergone transformations in his functional capabilities to include electronic news gathering at its simplest to the more professional areas of self-editing and publishing – all from the comfort of his/her home. As multi functionality increases, journalists who can do more than one thing well will be in demand.

Citizen journalism takes the formality out of the job and brings in the fresh scent of truth in candidness. As Ben Mutzabaugh of USA Today commented:

β€œIn print its easy to feel you are at odds with readers because people will find one little thing wrong. So as a journalist you get defensive. The readers on a blog (or a citizen journalism website) chime in and help you. They want you to get the story right.”

Such is the power of the new media, made possible by instant interactivity. The comments space on this website and the content contribution ease of Web.2.0 technology make it possible for the writer and the reader to get into instant dialog and take an issue or story to a wider audience. In full dialog mode, with the freedom of more people joining yet under editorial control. However this is not to be confused with the flourishing and equally important social networks increasing on the Net these days.

While Web.2.0 allows publishers to create whole platforms open to organization and community fostering, the simple open web design coupled with instant interactivity at the same time broadcastability. Simple to learn technics such as tagging content with keywords that enable the search engines to discover your article make the emerging platform ideal for the Citizen Journalist.

The new breed of ministers and the members of the new parliament will certainly benefit from interacting with the public through citizen journalism. There can be nothing prohibiting them or breaching their oaths of office if they decide to step out of the ordinary, think out of the box and sort of test the waters of Direct Democracy!

Without favor, fear or casting ill will they will be able to get instant feedback from the public constituents they hold dear to their success. Discretion and prudence being watchwords of public governance and performance, the democratic process would, in time, certainly thrive and evolve a lot more through the electronic media and less through the traditional dispersal routes.

Not encumbered

The citizen journalist and his medium are much less if not totally devoid of encumbrances as the costs of running his medium is minimal compared to the huge infrastructures demanded of the traditional Press. By habit and gathered moss such infrastructural behemoths themselves become opinion drivers instead of the positive reverse tide where people should drive opinion.

Responsible Journalism

Most Citizen Journalism sites make it their individual policy to abide by the old school ethics. As their very survival depends on ethics and public code of conduct, responsible journalism too will gradually become a reality. Right, there are no regulators as such scouting the Net, but typical arrangements between the CJ entrepreneur and the web host will have built in safeguards against material and media abuse.

sasitharoor kcvenugopal

The photos show Mr. Sasi Tharoor (left) and Mr. K.C.Venugopal, two of the successful candidates Kerala voted into the country's Parliament in New Delhi. While the web site congratulates all the winners of the election, Your Leg or Mine also endorses local news too. Being a Kerala based web site the author salutes all the twenty M.Ps whose victories will truly be remembered as the electorate polled them in purely on values either of their published manifestos or their individual potential or both. The two pictured here represent Hope on the international and political horizons of the state and the nation as a whole. People recognize leadership potential if it is presented to them in credible formats. Their performance in the coming term will certainly cast these two along with the rest in power in exciting and challenging scenarios. The weather at cast off is certainly bright, with an immediate welcome tide and a sustaining wind in the stock markets and a thumbs on tab inflation.

We wish them success in their tenure ahead.

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