Citizen journalism allows for a multiplicity of voices and offers an uncensored version of events, which can be a valuable source of news for journalists.
Here are five of the best websites giving citizen journalists a voice:
iReport has been around since 2006 and has a large, active community. Users upload, share and discuss stories that aren’t edited or fact-checked before being published on iReport – they go through a separate screening process before being used by CNN. But the site is moderated for offensive or copyright infringing material. CNN sets assignments for users, asking for photos and stories of chosen themes or events. You can also customise your usage and filter your interests. Citizen journos on iReport have even been known to set CNN’s news agenda – in 2012 Nigerian protests over fuel prices were not heavily reported in North America until iReport saw a steady stream of photos and videos from the ground in Nigeria.
This is the home of user-generated content on The Guardian. It is all heavily moderated before being published, but users can upload videos, photos and stories and then browse submissions by others. The best images chosen by The Guardian moderators will then feature on The Guardian site so it can be a platform to showcase your own material. Like iReport, GW sets assignments issuing a call-out for user input on a range of topics, and also lets you submit ideas for stories and assignments. The best aspect is its live news tie-in where you can contribute to live blogs – as long as it passes The Guardian’s strict standards.
This citizen journalism site is a collaborative platform. It works in a similar way to Wikipedia with anyone being able to upload information but it is written as a news story, rather than encyclopaedia article. Wikinews also encourages an objective viewpoint and unbiased reporting, and you have to follow strict content guidelines.
The London-based newswire is a platform for both professional and would-be photojournalists. They focus on breaking news, and push images and videos to newspapers and broadcasters. Users simply take a picture on their phone or camera, upload it to the site and then have the chance of selling it to media outlets splitting the revenue 50/50. It’s a useful tool for photographers wanting to make money, but is also a comprehensive site with visual stories.
This site looks to find stories from marginalised and misrepresented communities. While it is not a citizen journalism site in the sense that anyone can upload pictures or videos, Global Voices has a dedicated editorial team of volunteers who sources stories trending news in social media, or interesting stories from blogs and independent press outlets. It reports on 167 countries and translates stories into 30 languages.