The Journalism Divide: Professional Vs. Amateur

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Centuries ago news travelled by word of mouth and its meaning depended on who was informing and who was listening. Today news is everywhere and it can come in numerous different forms; websites, newspapers, television. However writing or reading with an unbiased perspective is hard and often impossible as our pre conceived notions of topics or events will always influence how we process certain information.

David Domingo, Thorsten Quandt, Ari Heinonen, Steve Paulussen, Jane B. Singer, and Marina Vujnovic discuss the concepts of professional and participatory journalism and how the divide is becoming blurred. In their article they state that contemporary critics have suggested that “news should be a conversation rather than a lecture”. This comment is interesting as it makes reference to how news originated before the media existed.

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Allowing audience participation in journalism, such as having comments on a news report allows several points of views to be expressed and could be said to give a report some balance. However it can also affect the professional industry and lead to further confusion over what is facts and what is simply opinion.

The U.S state department produced a podcast titled ‘Social Media and Citizen Journalists’, where it discussed the topic of professional versus amateur journalism. They comment that traditional journalists view citizen journalists as “self-interested, unskilled amateurs” and these so called amateurs view the professionals as “arrogant”. Focusing on the ‘blogosphere’ they bring to light a key issue that separates both fields of journalism which is perception and a distrust of the other.

By taking a look at both viewpoints it becomes clear that each argument has valid points. Participatory journalism brings back the concept of news as conversation but professional journalism is needed for accuracy and structure.

What viewpoint do you guys take?

♦Domingo, D, Quandt, T, Heinonen, A, Paulussen, S, J, B, Singer & Vujnovic, M, 2008, ‘Participatory Journalism Practices In The Media And Beyond,’ Journalism Practice, 2:3, 326-342.

♦U.S State Department, 2011, ‘Social Media and Citizen Journalists’, IIP Digital, last accessed 26/05/2014,

I’ll have journalism infused with pop culture please….

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Dan Berkowitz poses the question, regarding pop culture and journalism, “How do these two media forms infuse each other?”. While considering my answer I realised there may not be one yet.

New technology has been giving audiences and professionals interactive ways of getting information out there and as a result is reshaping both journalism and pop culture spheres. While they both expand and change individually they are also crossing over and in turn assisting the expansion of the other. Many years ago it would have been easy to define journalism as professionally published  writing, produced by a trained and experienced individual, but how accurate is this definition today?

 Blogs, forums, Facebook, Twitter, nowadays journalism can be as short as a 42 character post or a citizens photograph. If this is the case the previous description  of journalism is inadequate but redefining the age old industry proves difficult. There is a constant debate over what characteristics make writing journalism and it often comes down to a matter of opinion. What is evident though is the power audiences have gained in the journalism arena since transitioning from a passive to an active position . The London Bombings of 2005 was mostly documented by commuters who were on their way to work and news networks and newspapers relied on these first hand experiences for their professional reports. 

 We can see that pop culture is directly affecting journalism and the ways in which it is now perceived and accepted by the general public. Pop culture reflects the masses, and social networking allows people with similar interests to connect and  select what they want to see, read and listen to. It has in turn allowed journalism to expand due to the niche markets the internet allows us to access and has produced a new area of pop culture.

As they infuse each other in todays society would pop culture and journalism suffer without the other? 


♦Berkowitz, D, 2009, ‘Journalism in the broader cultural mediascape’, Journalism, 10:290, last accessed 25/03/14,

♦Till, F, 205, ‘Citizen journalists’ move to centre stage after London bombings’, The National Business Review’, last accessed 25/03/14,

My name is Lauren and I’m a phonaholic

Me and my friends using mobiles for all sorts or reasons. antisocial or social??

Me and my friends using mobiles for all sorts or reasons. antisocial or social??

Let me start by asking you one simple question…..Where is your mobile phone right now? I think its pretty fair to assume that the majority of you don’t even have to look away form you screens as your phone is probably so close you can see it through your peripheral vision! The mobile phone is not simply a technological device that we have integrated into our everyday lives but for a lot of us it IS our life or at least the digital version of it.

My mobile is oh so much more than just a phone! It is:
My phone
My music player
My bank
My camera
A game console
My Inbox
My social life-Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Whatsap, Viber, Snapchat
My alarm clock
My diary
and even my guitar tuner

Simply put I would be lost without it and I don’t think I’m the only one! So how are audiences using their phones in public spaces? The worlds connectivity has been dramatically enhanced by these devices and as a result society in general has adopted a much more shared and open dynamic.

Citizen journalism is one action brought on by mobile devices that interests me for several reasons. It shows a shift in power, as audiences become active and crucial participants in events and disasters. The London Bombings of 2005 were seen to highlight this change as James Owen commented at the time that the ‘media commentators say the London bombings mark a “tipping point” in the news-gathering process’. All photos that day came from everyday commuters not the professionals. Citizen journalism also broke the news of Chinese earthquake Sichuan in 2008 when it was first reported on micro blogging site Twitter. Technology blogger Robert Scoble commented ‘I reported the quake about an hour before CNN or the major press started talking about it’. A mobile phone allows events to be recorded, documented and shared within seconds of them occurring and police now rely on the publics personal pictures and videos to solve or find answers to events such as the recent Boston Bombings.

But there is always a downside and on several people commented agreeing that we are too reliant on our mobile phones. CamelCavalry says ‘we’re losing skills’, dinglepuss2 comments ‘nobody (including myself) knows how to do anything on their own anymore’ and Anonymous ‘thinks we are losing contact with other humans’.

So what do you guys think? Do the benefits such as citizen journalism weigh out the negatives? Or are we simply too reliant on our beloved mobile phones?



Hodge, K, 2010, ‘10 news stories that broke on Twitter first’, Techradar, last accessed 27/09/2013,

 Moore, M, 2008, ‘China earthquake brings out citizen journalists’, The Telegraph, last accessed 27/09/2013,

Owen, J, 2005, ‘London Bombing Pictures mark New Role for Camera Phones’, National Geographic, last accessed 27/09/2013,, 2013, ‘Are we too reliant on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets?’,, last accessed 27/09/2013,