The Evolution of Mainstream Journalism with Citizen Journalism

The New York Times has a nice piece on a recent effort by Yahoo and Reuters to take advantage of the explosion of bottom-up media being captured and produced by amateurs. They will start showcasing  photos and videos shot by everyday people using their cell-phones. From the article:

“The project is among the most ambitious efforts in what has become known as citizen journalism, attempts by bloggers, start-up local news sites and by global news organizations like CNN and the BBC to see if readers can also become reporters.

Many news organizations turned to photographs taken by amateurs to supplement coverage of events like the London subway bombing and the Asian tsunami. Yahoo’s news division has already used images that were originally posted on Flickr, the company’s photo-sharing site. For example, it created a slide show of images from Thailand after the coup there in September.

Camera phone videos are increasingly making news themselves. Michael Richards, the actor who played Kramer on “Seinfeld,” was recorded last month responding to hecklers in a nightclub with racially charged epithets. The video was posted on TMZ, the celebrity news site.”

The journalism business is in the midst of a real crisis as the old advertising models that supported newspapers and television news are fundamentally shifting. This evolution towards using average citizens to help cover the world might be one piece of solving the puzzle of how journalism works in the 21st century world. Keep an eye on it.

Peter Leyden