Long live Blogs and Citizen Journalism

Chris Gaynor

I love stirring up a bit of controversy on online forums. Why not? I am entitled to my views. That is what freedom   of speech is all about.

Opponents of this basic human right would have to handcuff me before being able to force me to quit giving my own opinion on news items and the agendas of their originators.

Here is what I wrote on one online forum: "With so many youngsters and middle twenty-year-olds wanting to be journalists, they would be well advised to learn more internet-based journalism such as HTML DREAMWEAVER, PODCASTING and others, rather than solely focusing on wanting to be a newspaper or magazine journalist.

I have always believed that the internet would take over, or at least dominate, as that is the world we are living in. Newspapers should have seen this coming. Except, too many journalists are too wrapped up in their own arrogance and think they are better than everyone else just because they write for a mainstream newspaper. They are too wrapped up in themselves to keep ahead of the game.

They will soon jump on the citizen journalism bandwagon - because they know if they don't they will not get a slice of the pie. Blogging and community news (citizen journalism) is the future."

One person responded dismissively: "The trouble with "blogging and community news (citizen journalism)", as described, is that the vast majority of it is inaccurate, based on rumour or totally lacking in objectivity."

Well, Plenty (my blog) and editors at The-Latest.com the UK's premier citizen journalism website which has had several scoops since it was started in 2006, pride themselves on their accuracy with facts and figures.

The difference between the mainstream media and so-called independent media sites, and others such as Guido Fawkes, is that we don't have to parrot the line that some mainstream journalists take when they are trying to get to the so-called truth.

The same antagonistic commentor added of Plenty and The-Latest: "I've just taken the opportunity to visit the "citizen journalism" websites recommended. If that's the future, then heaven help us all. Both sites contain a mish-mash of bits of national and international news, served up by people who clearly have trouble stringing words and thoughts together and who evidently have agendas of their own."

Well, again, there is NEWS here on these sites; alternative news. Plenty has an agenda, and I'm pretty sure The-Latest has an agenda. That agenda is to not 'PARROT' or drum out dreary press releases that make politicians, or indeed any one Party look good. That's the very churnalism which is bringing our noble trade of journalism into disrepute (see what investigative journalist Nick Davies has to say about this).

I would love to see the dissident commentator try to string a few words together and see how easy he finds it to write an article, balanced or unbalanced. I bet he would find it difficult.

There are broadly three types of journalism, and again I am entitled to my view. 1) The mainstream media news reporting and commentary. 2) The un-parroted news reporting and commentary. 3) And the investigative news reporting, both mainstream and independent.

*See Alarm as NHS files go up in smoke to see why so called independent news sites can still break exclusives...The-Latest, edited by well established journalists, and Plenty, a contributor of that site, will continue to do what they do best...

*This article was written in response to an article on the regional press site Holdthefrontpage, where ironically, a mainstream media pundit had predicted that newspapers would suffer another sharp decline this year - due to the recession and growing popularity of internet based journalism (which includes citizen journalism and blogging).

Here is a video by Paul Staines aka Guido Fawkes on the merits of blogging: