Citizen journalist, a term coined to described those who saw incidents, report it to a news agency or use their own avenue such as blogs to tell their side of the stories. Much like a reporter, but they do not get paid for it, or if they do, it is through their own initiative. They are private entity, answer to no one and need not justify to anyone why they write something or has an opinion about something. Their only limitation is the law, that is if they have any respect for it.
When I moderated for an event in Penang titled eLawyer-Exabytes Penang Bloggers & Law Forum 2009, there were a group called citizen journalists who were also there to lern about the law. And boy, did they researched and did their homework. They nearly exposed my bluff when they started spewing court cases they have read. However, as a lawyer, I know the real working of courts and can finally answer them properly. Not just that the standard answer people like to use when answering question with regards to authority came in handy, which is "This is Malaysia....".
Back to these citizen journalist, bloggers are now known to be among those who are categorised as part of them. As a saying goes in Nuffnang.com.my website once, it is not what one blogger can do, but what thousands of them can do, which will matter in the long run. We are like a mob which will be the eyes and the ears of other citizens who wanted to know what is really happening in our part of the world. Bloggers in Malaysia are even said to be one of the reasons why certain states in Malaysia was won by the oppositions at the last election.
It seems that blogging is more than just reporting and being a citizen journalist is not something to be taken lightly anymore. Just ask those uber pro-blogger, who is on the run from the authority, and dispensing news from all over the world. They believe in what they do so much that they are willing to take on the mainstream media. Some of their readers are so fanatical in their believe that unless the news are verified by their favourite blogger's website, it will be just a propaganda by the government. Even the smart mainstream media has gone online to salvage their readership. And encourage their reader to be part of the revolution. Politics has also been a different kettle of fish nowadays.
So, have you been part of the citizen journalists before?