“J” is for journalism, and citizen journalism the new buzzword for the year.

Everyone is encouraged to send newsworthy events to the news station to get them published and publicised. It’s ironic how an event that was been criticised as trying to exploit free publicity made it on the news and thus making it self-fulfilled. A recent case in example: a closing pet shop that received public attention because of a well-meaned pet lover SMSed to her friends.

Before the advent of citizen journalism, the role of sensationalising the news lie on the tabloid news reporter. Now, the honour goes to the citizen who supplied the news and the ‘victims’ who are part of the news. They have to ‘make it big’ so that it is news-worthy. Such a mentality would in no time distort all the news that we receive. In fact, we can no longer believe everything that is being reported on the news. Although the news reporter might try to verify the information, no one knows the truth better than the victim him/herself. A recent classic case: the family of a man who committed suicide on the MRT station received thousands of dollars in donations to support the livelihood.

But there are definitely benefits to citizen journalism. We get news that we would never learn from professional journalists, photos we could never get from press photographers. News reading has become more entertaining. Even my wife nowadays watches the evening news.

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