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Citizen Journalist and Local News


Everyone's heard of a citizen's arrest.  I'm not even sure if it's real or even legal to do but we all take it for granted that it does exist and more importantly, it does happen.  It's a powerful notion and it's a notion of community policing that pretty succinctly mirrors the Zipper local news and local gossip as it applies to the source of information.  The equivalent that we want to look at that of citizen journalist.  Let's find out what that term means and why there's a new kind of power over local news in the hands of everyday citizens. 

First, what is a citizen journalist?  Basically, it's where any citizen can accumulate, report on, and provide local news.  Providing news is no longer just the responsibility or auspices of professionals.  Think of what this means and more importantly, how the internet with components such as the Zipper local news app.  Everything is now on the table and the filtering of available news has gone away.  This changes everything in a few different ways.  Let's look at how the advent of online citizen journalism with tools like the Zipper change the entire equation.  Let's look at a specific situation where citizen journalism brings an important local news story to light. 

What if there a local news story that should be told but the powers that be don't want it told.  You would like to hope this doesn't happen any more and belongs more on Boardwalk Empire or The Wire.  Maybe there's a large company that's buying up a large piece of public land from the government in order to develop it.  You might know about this info because you're the adjoining neighbor to the piece of property.  The odd piece of the local news story being told no where is that the price paid by the big company is about 60% of the value of the land and guess what...the purchasing company is a very large supporter of the current elected officials.  I know...big shocker.  There's a good chance this story will never make the local news and if so, it will be buried down with a small aside and the company's espousing all the good they plan do with  the difficult property.  The news press can always fall back on the excuse that the public is not interested in the real estate dealings in all their minutia and to some extent, this is a valid argument.  This type of deal probably occurs in some fashion or another all the time but it just doesn't get much scrutiny from the local press because after's pretty mundane to the typical reader and won't attract "eyeballs" and conversely, advertisers.  This economic filter (at it's best) does not apply with citizen journalists.  People might be more aware or interested if that neighbor reports on the 40% difference from market the government is losing (which means the public is losing) to the tune $14M.  That might spark their attention since the local library is being closed because of a $50K annual budgetary hole.

The Zipper local news app takes advantage of this kind of citizen's journalism to bypass the powers that be  and in doing so, frees up many local news stories to actually be told.  When we're all journalists, there's no hiding for powers that look to take advantage of the social contract that we all benefit from.   



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