“Citizen Journalist” vs. “Videojournalist” vs. Eyewitness

Andy Dickinson has fresh insight into the Sadaam hanging video. As professionals, VJs observe and report on what goes on in the world from an objective viewpoint. But what happens when a citizen sees/records important events? Does that make them a videojournalist? In my experience, no – that makes them an eyewitness. The variable today is that they are able to record the event and put it out there for the world to see. My experience has been that when a citizen sees and records an event, they often need to be debriefed in order to ensure that their story is clear and consistant. That is often the role of the journalist….to ask questions and push the eyewitness to think through what they saw and place it in context. An earlier post said that in times of great chaos the media simply streams information and visuals directly to the public – and this includes cellphone video and stills. But the execution of Sadaam was not shot and immediately put on the web. While I am not familiar with exactly what happened, it seems to be a citizen or even a political statement. It is not journalism.

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