Text Syune Sargyan
Citizen journalism is a compulsory and inevitable component of modern journalism. It is very popular in Armenia as well. A vast amount of information is available to the public via social media. That puts the media industry at the center of public attention. Development of citizen journalism has played its own role in the formation of media pluralism. It helped during the revolution, when people shared all the updates about closed streets, police, new methods of peaceful civil disobedience, etc. with each other. We all became citizen journalists and social media became a platform for us. Modern technology made it possible to become a citizen journalist, and many people found their second profession – citizen journalism. The main factor contributing to it has been their responsiveness.
Nowadays, citizen journalism is everywhere. It presents the opportunity to get real information in real time, especially when there isn’t a professional journalist at the scene. People take photos or videos and share them on social media as soon as they witness something important. Some of those photos or videos become the subject of a public discussion. They help the public focus on important topics, which is often not covered by traditional media.
Different people can respond differently as citizen journalists. Bloggers, public journalists, and non-professional journalists can also be considered citizen journalists. A citizen journalist is a person who actively uses social media, has basic knowledge about it, and can formulate his opinion in a way the public can understand. Citizen journalism is important especially in the countries where media became a tool for government or other political parties to communicate with the public and control the flow of information, and placing taboos on certain topics.
It is new phenomenon in Armenia, but people love it, because it creates strong ties between people and the media. The higher the level of civic participation and civic consciousness is the better, and this is increased the coverage level of citizen journalists. At least we can state that this is true for Armenia. By the way, the borders between the media and citizen journalism have become thinner with the help of social media. It helps people to feel more responsible for the events taking place around them. This is important especially during elections, as people feel the responsibility for everyone and they want to have fair elections. One can feel this atmosphere everywhere. Political changes and processes that we are facing today are pluralistic and people who want to share their thoughts or have an impact on their country’s policy now have the opportunity to do just that.