Participatory Journalism

This concept is when ordinary citizens have firstly, the means to capture material, and secondly, the power to distribute and share this with the world. As a concept, its definition is quite vague, “There do not appear to be any universal perceptions about participatory journalism” (Quandt 2011: 174). The ambiguity stems from the two opposing points of view – the supporters vs. the detractors – conflicting definitions.

Key stakeholders who aren’t in favour of Participatory Journalism include; media publications/outlets, media regulators, editors and a considerable percentage of journalists. This group have less than honourable reasons for being against the movement. Their greatest concern is the loss of power that comes with allowing largely unregulated writers to publish their views on a medium that knows no bounds.

Participatory journalism supporters cite its ability to bring democracy to the forefront as its largest contribution to society. Its other important contribution, along with the help of new technology, is the ability to capture newsworthy events – anywhere and at any time.  Professor of Journalism, Jeff Jarvis proposes that participatory journalism does not need to be an enemy in the media’s eyes. He suggests that the relationship between the publication and its audience needs to update to become more of a ‘give and take’ situation. This arrangement can be beneficial to both parties. The media will be richer for sharing varied opinions and perceptions on issues, while the contributions from the public will reach a higher volume of people and has the potential to have a greater impact.

This new type of journalism is revolutionary and has the power to change traditional media channels. It is ‘part of an undeniable media shift that is changing the way news is gathered… it is a melding of public participation that involves bloggers who break news on independent websites, and citizens who capture newsworthy events with cell phone cameras.’ (Reading, 2011)


– Future of Journalism: Jeff Jarvis on 10 questions we should be asking now | Media | . 2013. @Future of Journalism: Jeff Jarvis on 10 questions we should be asking now | Media | . [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 12 April 2013].

– Quandt, T 2011 ‘Understanding a new phenomenon: the significance of participatory journalism’, in JB Singer, A Hermida, D Domingo, A Heinonen, S Paulussen, T Quandt, Z Reich and M Vujnovic (eds), Participatory Journalism in Online Newspapers: Guarding open Gates at Online Newspapers, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, West Sussex, pp 155-176.          

– Reading, A. (2011). Globital witnessing: Mobile memories of atrocity and terror from London and Iran. In K. Hall, & K. N.Jones (Eds.). Constructions of conflict: Transmitting memories of the past in European historiography, culture and media (pp. 73-90). Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang.


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