CNN Embraces Citizen Journalists Despite Competitive Threat

12 07 2010

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Wether or not you agree blogs should be  considered journalism is one thing. But one thing for certain is that citizen journalism is on the rise, mostly due to the increased popularity of social media. CNN has realized this and accommodated aspiring journalists by creating iReport, a service that allows ordinary people to share news, opinions, and more. The best stories are inspected and approved by CNN and used in CNN platforms. Some have claimed CNN is the most social media savvy news organization, but the network’s viewership is taking a fall. Ironically, CNN president Jonathan Klein thinks social networking sites pose as a competitive threat to news organizations. He might be on to something, but first lets focus on how social networks are changing journalism.

It appears as though the large news conglomerates are losing power over the news. The advent and explosion of social networks have made it possible for anyone to share a story over the internet and this has created quite the stir. Journalists across the country are losing their jobs and numerous newspapers have had to shut down. Many citizen journalists are not trained to be objective or autonomous and its damaging the reputation of journalist in general. Professional journalist have valuable connections that help create investigative stories that citizen journalists may not have access too. Without quality journalist, the fate of our democracy is in jeopardy. On the other hand, online journalist have been accredited for uncovering important stories like the “Phantom Congressional District” where billions of dollars worth of errors were found in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. News conglomerates are no longer the almighty gatekeeper of news, so stories that may have not previously been reported  due to conflicts of interest have more potential to be reported. There are many pros and cons of citizen journalism, but essentially it offers a potentially respectable news alternative. So what does all of this have to do with CNN?

For the good of the American people, professional journalist and citizen journalist must find a middle ground. If the two can work together then American citizens can be more informed and prepared to make educated decisions concerning our democracy. I believe CNN’s iReport could be the answer: a social network that lets citizen journalist with quality stories to be heard. Perhaps if other news organizations are willing to adopt this concept, we could remarkably improve American journalism.

Even though CNN’s viewership numbers are falling to other news organizations, they managed to make 2009 their most profitable year to date. Maybe Klein needs to view social networks as a valuable asset and not a threat if he wants to top last years earnings.

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3 responses

17 07 2010
Christine Lewandowski

The idea of iReport is definitely new to me. While I figured bloggers would be closing in on journalists it is often hard for me to think of it as real news that is capable of getting coverable on a big network like CNN. However, I think the idea is really intriguing and I’m interested to see if other networks try a similar strategy. It is a great way to keep viewers interested. iReport demonstrates the two-way communication strategy that is so important in todays PR 2.0 world.

18 07 2010
Eric Gustafson

The iReport sounds like CNN is on to something. If used properly, it can facilitate news reports that, like you said, otherwise wouldn’t be heard or uncovered. It’s also interesting to see how the citizen journalist is changing the journalism landscape.

I find it very interesting that 2009 was the most profitable year for CNN despite the lack of viewership. I would probably attribute this to their website revenue and other outlets. It will be interesting to see what route CNN takes in the future.

19 07 2010
Sean Munley

They recently cut off Associated Press as a news source. In the future, I think CNN wants to become an independently credible news source.

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