In our previous post, we talked about comments surrounding The Handbook for Citizen Journalists. Another thorny aspect is its section on earning press badges from the National Association of Citizen Journalists, which Jack Driscoll of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media condemns as licensing.
This is a thorny issue. Robert Niles, writing at The Online Journalism Review, argues that they are necessary, but he is taking the side against traditional media that claims that giving credentials to citizen journalists waters down the significance fo the credentials themselves.
Niles points out that traditional media is declining. Reporters are being laid of by the tens of thousands. With less reporters form traditional media covering the beat, it becomes more necessary to give credentials to citizen journalists.
In short, giving credentials to citizen journalists balances the asymmetry created when news organizations lay off their reporters.
This is becoming a bit of a hotbed issue right now inside citizen journalist circles and between citizen and traditional media, following the journalism.co.uk report on the fallout after citizen journalism wire service Demotix started giving out press passes to some of its contributors.