Citizen Journalism

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What Does Citizen Journalism Mean?

Citizen journalism refers to the reporting of news events by members of the public using the Internet to spread the information. Citizen journalism can be a simple reporting of facts and news that is largely ignored by large media companies. It is easily spread through personal websites, blogs, microblogs, social media and so on. Some types of citizen journalism also act as a check on the reporting of larger news outlets by providing alternative analysis.


Citizen journalism is referred to by many other names, including:

  • Collaborative citizen journalism (CCJ)
  • Personal publishing
  • Grassroots media
  • Networked journalism
  • Open source journalism
  • Citizen media
  • Participatory journalism
  • Hyperlocal journalism
  • Distributed journalism
  • Stand-alone journalism
  • Bottom-up journalism
  • Nonmedia journalism
  • Indymedia
  • Guerrilla journalism

There is some nuance to these usages, but all revolve around online publishing and the distribution of information by members of the public.

Techopedia Explains Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism refers to all forms of public reporting carried out online. This includes everything from blogs covering a local Little League tournament to the online posts of citizens in countries where the national media is government controlled. When an event is too small for larger media to take notice or the media cannot report the facts without censorship, citizen journalism may be the only source of information on what is actually occurring behind the media blackout.

Some citizen journalists have gained so much popularity for their reporting and commentary that they can reach a much wider audience than traditional news outlets.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.