Citizen journalists are becoming a potent force for building open and democratic societies. Today, a single smart phone offers the public a journalist’s tool box that just a few years ago cost thousands of dollars and filled a car trunk.
In environments where poor infrastructure, minimal access to technology, and small-scale economies impede the development of mainstream independent media, and in countries where repressive governments limit the ability of professional journalists to operate freely, citizen journalists are helping to fill the gaps. These citizen journalists can provide a corrective, alternative view that exposes corruption, fosters accountability, and documents abuses of power. Just as they can serve to challenge mainstream forces, however, they can also be tools of government propaganda, as in Syria and China, where loyalists have flooded social media sites and blogs with pro-regime sentiment.
Citizen journalism also poses a problem for advocates of quality, accuracy, and objectivity, as they typically lack formal training or knowledge of the essential roles independent media play in ensuring accountable and transparent government. Join the following discussion at the National Endowment for Democracy’s Center for International Media Assistance as panelists explore the growth of citizen journalism, its impact on independent media, and the challenges for media development trainers.
Citizen Journalism in the Information Revolution
International Center for Journalists
Anahi Ayala Iacucci
Author, The Video Revolution
Adam Clayton Powell III
University of Southern California
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
1025 F Street, N.W., Suite 800 Washington, DC 20004
If you are unable to join, watch the event live here
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About the speakers:
Yehia Ghanem is country director for Egypt with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), overseeing its program training professional and citizen journalists to cover their local communities. The program has been on hold since the Egyptian government’s crackdown on foreign-funded non-governmental organizations began in December 2011.
Anahi Ayala Iacucci is Internews’ innovation advisor for Africa, specializing in information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D), crisis mapping, and the use of new technologies to overcome communication barriers. Iacucci is co-founder of the Standby Task Force, an online volunteer community for live mapping, which managed the LibyaCrisisMap project. She is based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Dale Peskin is co-founder and chief knowledge officer of We Media, a global innovation agency committed to harnessing the power of media, communication, and human ingenuity for the common good. A pioneer in digital and social media, Peskin coined the term “we media” in 2002 to express how the democratization of media would transform news media.
Jane Sasseen is a freelance editorial consultant who has worked with numerous major non-profit and media organizations. She was an editor and co-author of several chapters of The State of the News Media 2012, the annual report on American journalism produced by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
About the moderator:
Adam Clayton Powell III is a senior fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for Communication Leadership and Policy and a university fellow at USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy, coordinating USC projects and forums in Washington, DC, on subjects ranging from public diplomacy and public service media to future business models for cultural institutions and arts journalism. Powell is a member of CIMA’s advisory council and the author of Bigger Cities, Smaller Screens: Urbanization, Mobile Phones, and Digital Media Trends in Africa.