Citizen journalists are people without professional journalism training. They utilize the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact-check media on their own, or by collaborating with others(Glaser, 2006).
Citizen journalists can take up alternative niches that coexist alongside the professional journalists, such as gatewatching (monitoring mainstream media content) rather than gatekeeping, report with multiple perspectives on affairs of global importance, and publish stories which are routinely overlooked or ignored by mainstream news services (Brun, 2006).
Urban Malaysians utilized New Media tools such as websites, blogs and SMS, to circumvent tight government controlled media in order to disseminate alternative news and viewpoints, particularly the opposition(Oon, 2008) .
The traditional media, particularly vernacular newspapers, played a part in informing the rural communities, who in turn supported online bloggers such as Jeff Ooi in the election.
Each had its niche and has distinct roles to play with room for collaboration. Another model would be the OhmyNews website with collaborations between professional and citizen journalists to create content.
Citizen journalists can carry out grassroots reporting which the mainstream media takes up and develops as a pool of tips, sources and story ideas. News Websites from Indymedia to Slashdot can do this more effectively than the mainstream media as they are decentralized and non-profit driven.
Bruns, A 2007, ‘Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation’, in Proceedings Creativity & Cognition 6, Washington, DC.
Glaser, M 2006 Your Guide to Citizen Journalism, Mediashift website, viewed 10 October 2009
Oon, Y. 2008, ‘What role did New Media play in GE 2008’, The Edge Financial Daily, 12 March