Want to get professional journalists fired up? Tell them how much you love citizen journalism and how it’s going to put them out of a job. Sure, it’s a sweeping generalization, but every time I talk mention citizen journalism in a blog post or tweet, I get some at least one message from a journalist that says, “It’s not journalism.”
I think the problem most professional journalists have with the term “citizen journalism” is the word “journalism.” If we just called it “people blogging or tweeting stuff that’s going on right now,” or if we called it an “eyewitness account,” there would probably be less controversy around the subject.
If we used a “citizen mechanic” to change the oil in our cars, or if a “citizen chef” invited us over for dinner on the weekend, would the hardworking mechanics and chefs of the world get their feathers ruffled? Probably not, but then again, who knows?
Often, journalists have gone to college to learn their trade. Many journalists have spent years honing their craft, toiling away at computer screens, or standing in the rain reporting on a car crashes, only to be one-upped by some yahoo with an iPhone app for Flip Mino who happened to be standing there when news happened.