Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Catatan Jurnalis Warga Hari Ini

A citizen reporter's note of the day.

translated version.

Yesterday night I've got a very important lesson from An article, taken from the daily Warta Kota, was published five months ago by Wulan Noviyanti in wikimu. Suddenly after five months online, yesterday (January 5th, 2008) the teacher from the mentioned school upload his protest.

I am interested in this matter because of two reasons. First, it is related to educational problems, then because it is clearly showing the evidence of Vincent Maher's theory in epistemology when he wrote "Citizen Journalism is Dead". This article is not my views through the first reason, but mainly a note of a citizen reporter from the internet. (I prefer to use the word reporter than journalist, but in Indonesian language both can be translated into "jurnalis", RT)

In his writing that he upload in his blog in 2005, Vincent Maher forwarded a hard remark on Citizen Journalism. One fact that he mentioned is that the conventional media has temporary news, while the citizen journalist has persistent news, which means that it will be occurring again and again. He also stated that news as a product of the conventional media is a final product of a hierarchal job from a writer to the editorial. It can not be comparable to the mess product of a citizen with its fictional civic-minded wannabe journalist.

Steve Outing in his comment in Poynteronline is forwarding his confident that there will be a positive growth in this new media that employ the community readers' monitoring or editing.

Vincent Maher seems to continue blogging and observing the growth of citizen journalism.

When I post a piece of my comment here (see Old Media = Temporary Message, Vincent Maher was quick in responding. He stressed the danger of spreading false news over and over again.

Personally, as a writer, the persistency of a voice in the online media is the important aspect in the process of writing the fact. Active interaction from the citizen will become the watchdog of the news' fact while the internet as the medium will help spread it out quicker. Violation of creative right can also be more easily identified (also faster for some bloggers, as a technophobia I prefer relying on friends from the community).

There are a lot of journal and magazine in Indonesia which are not online yet, even for those online we might not have the time to read it all. With the citizen journalism (in this term I am referring mostly to, RT) where the citizen can also upload news from the mainstream media (honestly mention the source, RT), there will be more people to criticize the facts from the mainstream media.

As a citizen reporter I always try to look for the most suitable reference from the internet. Yet, even wikipedia is not always presenting the real fact. There is a note I found in the internet from a person who claimed his biography was written under false fact that is leading to an assassination of his character.

Steve Outing's post titled To Trust or Not To Trust Wikipedia could give us the picture of how to treat the information from wikipedia (or mostly all online interactive information, RT). The news as a public driven resource and the information might not be perfect. It will be under the development and critical eyes of the participated citizen.

Perhaps the persistent value of news is the different aspect between a blog and a citizen journalism website. A blog can easily deleted by the owner (except for the copied content by others!). There is always a possibility that nobody had read that content, at least that is the message I've read in some bloggers' T-shirt I met in the Indonesian national bloggers party. "Who care about your blog?". As a technophobia, I was surprised to see how fast Vincent Maher commented to my post. Meanwhile, in a citizen journalism website it would not be that easy to erase the content. Yet, comment and correction will definitely colored the online news (still in the context of wikimu, RT).

It seems to me that this new media has a very important place to the learning of democracy and the freedom of press. Citizen interact directly on how news are presenting. It is sure the news that we found worthy will only emerged if everybody who is working in it take the corridor of ethics. That is why I kept asking the professional journalists the ethical guidance, so that people are also aware of the journalism ethics.

New writers and senior writers can learn from each other. But the most important thing is to keep ourselves guarding our integrity. There is an Indonesian saying "karena nila setitik rusak susu sebelanga", because of a small mistake we can ruin all the good things we've done. The meaning can be very intense in the cyber world.

Dan Gillmor, whose name is closely related to citizen journalism, once told me that there are bloggers who write professionally and there are also professional journalists who did not serve their readers well. He also stated that people can differentiate a good journalistic product when one sees it. At least by holding to the basic principles of journalism we can expect to have a journalistic output.

I think he is right as we usually choose the mainstream media that we would like to hear or read according to their integrity in finding facts, and to our choices of topics.

Personally I think that citizen journalism as a new media is a very good instrument, it is up to our ability in using it to make it function and to make it last in the universe that becomes more global.

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