In the second of a rapidly increasing number of posts (mainly due to the sudden urge to write more), I postulate on the failings of citizen journalism, once again. I think I’ve done something like this before.
DISCLAIMER: These are my opinions. I have one, just like you do. If you do not like the post, don’t read it once you realise it’s not your cup of tea. I respect that. If you disagree, I’d love to get together with you and discuss your point of view such that we both come away with a new understanding of the issue. If however, you find yourself filled with an inexplicable hatred and a sudden desire to pour hot coffee in my eardrums and then fill my nostrils with fire ants, then please, make yourself scarce.
DISCLAIMER II: The above disclaimer is in case anyone actually reads this. If not, Ganesh, just ignore these 2 paragraphs as you read this in the future to refresh your memory, because we all know you’ll forget what you wrote the minute you finish the post, forget months and years down the road.
Citizen journalism is best left to those trained in journalism. While this may seem contradictory, that’s only because it actually is. Citizen journalism should not exist as a concept to begin with.
The newsworthiness of a story, no matter how current, is not always determined by the average viewer. The average viewer is unable to maintain an impartial air, to view the story through the cold hard lens that is fact-based. This has become even more prevalent in today’s clickbait-fueled world. The need for stories that pique a reader’s curiosity has led many sites to try and increase traffic to their sites through the use of bombastic sounding words that get potential readers’ heart rates up without actually giving them the news.
I left that video up there just to sort of highlight my point. Now I’m sure all of us (myself included) are guilty of hyperbole for the sake of entertainment or whatever other reason you want to throw out there. But clickbait titles, and the people who write them, now they, they deserve their own circle in hell. The use of hyperbole in such titles is (in my mind) going to single-handedly ruin the internet. Well, that and microtransactions. But that’s a post for another day.
This post has become a lot more narrow in its focus than I intended. But seriously, fuck clickbait and all it represents.
BACK ON TRACK!
I was talking about citizen journalism, and I stand by the fact that normal citizens aren’t fit to report on current events, no matter how well-informed they may be. I’m not talking about Facebook statuses and the like, here, that’s you own opinion and that’s perfectly fine. I’m talking about the people who seem to spend their time writing for (supposedly) news sites and yet you can smell their opinion all over the newspiece, not as a form of context. Hell, it’s not even subtle. The minute you start reading these posts you feel violated because the author’s opinion lunged at you through the window and proceeded to commit unspeakable acts of depravity in full view of your loved ones.
The scariest part of that is no one knows it’s happening. Except you, of course, but you can’t exactly say anything can you? Suffer in Silence, you shall.
The fact still remains that leaving news reporting to the common man, although supposedly giving power to the masses in deciding what they want to know/learn/hear about, in reality takes away power from the masses. By enabling anyone to report on anything, you effectively remove any possibility of the populace gaining knowledge and insight, since everyone will report on what they want, and no one is left to report on what needs to be reported.
“Why do they get to decide what’s important? Who’s to decide that international events are more important than the latest proposition by an Arabian sheikh to Kim Kardashian?” I hear people ask (in my head of course, no one can be bothered with my thoughts at 2 a.m on a Tuesday.)
The reason is that the purpose of the news was determined, a long time ago, to be the informing of the masses, the betterment of society by broadening our horizons and learning about other cultures. Whether or not this purpose has been achieved/perverted, that is up to others much smarter than me to determine.
For my part, I only have my observations and opinions to offer.
The education of the masses, be it through traditional or new media, must be determined by those of a certain level of intelligence, which the common man MAY NOT possess. Leaving programming up to aforementioned John Everyman is foolish. Yes, there is a certain degree of elitism in that statement, but it has to exist. For the many to benefit, those with the ability to lead also have a responsibility to do so.
That is why I write a blog. I do not lead. Not in this aspect at least. There are far more qualified people who have years of formal education in such matters who are better equipped to discuss such topics.
I’m not even sure if I’ve discussed this topic in sufficient detail or if I’ve made my views clear, but I’d like to think I have. Maybe when I read this post over I’ll realise what a fool I am and delete the whole post. If you’ve made it till here, however, it’s safe to assume the post isn’t deleted.
Thanks for joining me on another ride with no particular point, just a journey through the tumultuous storm of half-formed thoughts and crippling desserts.
I’ll be signing off now, time to try and get some sleep.
Good night everyone.