What it takes to be a citizen journalist


Google just launched the YouTube Reporters Center.

Ever captured a natural disaster or a crime on your cell-phone camera? Filmed a political rally or protest, and then interviewed the participants afterward? Produced a story about a local issue in your community? If you’ve done any of these things or aspire to, then you’re part of the enormous community of citizen reporters on YouTube, and this channel is for you. The YouTube Reporters’ Center is a new resource to help you learn more about how to report the news. It features some of the nation’s top journalists and news organizations sharing instructional videos with tips and advice for better reporting.

US-focused of course but a pretty good place to get some tips and ideas on how to create video content that has a better chance of standing out, being noticed, being commented on, linked to, etc.

Does a place on the web like this make everyone a “citizen journalist”? Arianna Huffington thinks it does in this video, one of more than 30 on the site.

Pay attention at around the 3:40 mark as Arianna tells that that to be a citizen journalist, “all you need is passion, a little training and the desire to tell a good story” (that “little training” bit might be a big step for some).

I’d add “be in the right place at the right time with a device that has a network connection.”

So is that all it would take to be a citizen journalist? Maybe it is – take a look at the Wikipedia definition.

In any event, the YouTube Reporters’ Center is a useful resource wherever and however you plan to use your video content, on YouTube or any other place, or provide guidance and help to others.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Richard Stacy


    I would go one step further and say ALL it takes to be a so called citizen journalist is to “be in the right place at the right time with a device that has a network connection”. But that is because I believe that citizen journalists don’t exist (I have never met someone who describes themselves thus) it is just a label that traditional journalists use to try and comprehend (and often constrain and criticise) a form of behaviour they don’t understand. http://tinyurl.com/nke2kf

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