Will Citizen Journalism Replace Professional Journalism

That is not going to happen.

It may be true that the internet has allowed EVERYONE to start their own blogs. Most of these blogs are a platform of citizen journalism. Thanks to the perpetual improvements of technology, our generation prefers to read news on the internet, where most user-produced content are available.

However, professionals will still be professionals. The need for professional reporters is not going to cease, even if citizen journalism is on the rise. Their job will remain their job, and the role of citizen journalism as a contributor/supplement to mainstream journalism will not change.

Citizen journalism has limitations which are theoretically non-existent to professional journalism. Tony Roger’s about.com article Can Bloggers Replace Professional Journalists? discussed such problems.

First, do bloggers have the professional ability to produce their own content? Most citizen bloggers only comment on present news stories, and most of them are merely personal opinions, not news or supplements to the current news stories. Are these bloggers trained to make a coverage of significant events instead of posting links of other news sites? Rogers ended the argument with, “So if newspapers and news websites start to disappear, what will bloggers have to write about? The information, the content, won’t be there.”

Although it somewhat made me think that Rogers generalizes all bloggers as amateur researchers (which is not always the case), I’d say the majority aren’t trained, which can compromise objectivity and truthfulness. I agree with his general statement, although there are a select few which are exceptions.

Second, objective reporting and expressing one’s opinions are not the same. As stated earlier, most blogs are about opinions. However, the public craves for objective reports. Are these bloggers prepared to step out of their editorializing comfort zone to actually cover newsworthy events?

Third, expertise really matters. With professional journalists doing the same routine over the years, their skills thus improved on so many levels that they have the authority to write about their topics of expertise. A political columnist who has observed the government throughout the years is more likely to be taken seriously than an opinionated high school student. Are those bloggers as virtuoso as these professionals?

Citizen journalism is of great help to the society, but it doesn’t have the level of professionalism mainstream institutions maintain.

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