Participatory journalism is a more interactive form of journalism where people are not only the consumers of news, but also the creators. With all the resources technology has provided us with, this kind of journalism is actually very common nowadays.
A perfect example for participatory journalism, that not many people may be familiar with, is the Nicaragua Dispatch. This online newspaper was created in order to show a different side of Nicaragua to the outside world, and also to allow people (both Nicaraguans and foreigners) to share their perspectives on a wide range of topics concerning Nicaragua.
The Nicaragua Dispatch offers Nicaragua a different form of journalism in many ways. For one, it allows people to blog and discuss current, relevant topics. Also, being written completely in English, it opens up the audience to people from around the world that don’t speak Spanish, yet share a curiosity for Central American culture. Unfortunately, the site’s founder (Tim Rogers) wrote the final edition of The Nicaragua Dispatch because he was offered a journalism fellowship in the U.S.
Regardless, the Nicaragua Dispatch is still available online, and if anyone wants to check it out, here’s the link: http://www.nicaraguadispatch.com/
Participatory journalism obviously has its advantages. First of all, people are able to look at news from a variety of perspectives, giving them the freedom to choose what to believe or not. Secondly, people are able to get more information from places that regular journalists would never be assigned to go to. And thirdly, people have the opportunity to know about little things, that even though they are not a part of big titled news, they are still an essential part of a culture or community.
However, the negative side to participatory journalism is that there is no filter to what information gets delivered to the public. People don’t feel the need to follow any ethical code, since they’re not actually journalists. Therefore, what they’ll write and publish on the Internet will be completely biased and from their own point of view. Also, some stories might not even have a way to be confirmed as true or fake.
Despite of the obvious disadvantages, however, I think that citizen journalism is actually a good thing because it provides so much more information about the world around us and also connects us as one global community.