Monday, October 29, 2007

A blogger’s opinion: when citizen journalism outpaces traditional media

At a session on blogging held during the Highway Africa conference in Grahamstown, Tanzanian blogger Ndesanjo Macha said that print newspapers must keep up with new communication technologies and the rise of citizen journalism.

"Everyone is becoming a journalist today. With a mobile phone in your hand, you can record news events and text the same to your friends and newsrooms; or even better still download the same to a blog", said Ndesanjo.

He cited a few examples when bloggers reported the news faster – sometimes better - than traditional media.

"In June this year, a member of parliament in Tanzania passed away, at night there was a lot of mobile reporting, we were all reporters and by the time media houses picked the story, it was no news at all," said Ndesanjo.

In another case, bloggers were quick to catch the controversial remarks of a politician at a birthday dinner. Newspapers and other media only picked up the story after it had caused uproar in the blogosphere.

Although Ndesanjo’s view is very much citizen journalism-centric, traditional media must by all means keep up with the rapidly evolving media landscape.

In some situations, bloggers or citizen journalists will be the first to uncover a newsworthy issue. But it’s up to newspapers to quickly pick up on it and develop the lead into a professional news story.


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