(A blog entry for my convergence class)

With the thousands, if not millions, of free news sites, blogs, online and mobile publications competing for the attention of audience, how can one be different and attract readers? With millions of stories and opinions floating around in the virtual world, why pay for content?

Is this the age of citizen journalism? Can anyone and everyone be journalists and be purveyors of news, whether good or bad?

I am always of the opinion that anyone and everyone can tell his or her story. It has been done even before the advent of the Internet and mobile gadgets. People have been sharing stories since ancient times through word of mouth. Many of us know this from our history books.

What the Internet and mobile gadgets do is enhance the sharing of stories, the speed of the transmission of information, and hopefully the action to respond to a situation.

The sharing of stories by citizens via the world wide web of mobile gadgets will challenge the arrogance of many in the media industry who believe that they are the only ones who have the right to inform the world of what is going on. The free flow of information through the various viral platforms that are now available to people should change the paradigm of those in the media industry in telling stories, in framing news and initiating discussions involving a wide range of sources.

Fact-checking, balance, fairness, among others, are supposed to make storytelling journalism. But experience has shown us that these standards are seldom observed. How many news stories have we found wanting on television, radio and newspapers?

Is citizen journalism the answer? The answer to what?

It answers the need for people to be heard. It answers the need for mainstream media, the institutional media industry dominated by business interests, to shape up and live up to the tenets of what journalism should be. Citizen journalism is the answer to the clamor for those whose interest are not covered by an industry that has long been dominated by profit.