When citizen journalists are interviewing people for stories, they should be upfront with their sources about their identity.
In fact, that’s one of the first things I recommend that citizen journalists do – tell your interviewees that you are a citizen journalist submitting items to OhmyNewsInternational, YourHub.com, Associated Content, YouTube or whatever medium you use.
Identifying yourself as a citizen journalist is much like a police officer reading accused criminals their Miranda rights. It is something that should be done before each and every interview.
And it should be a natural thing to do. As a citizen journalist, you aren’t trying to hide what you are doing or trick people into making outrageous statements because they don’t know a “reporter” is in hearing range. You are trying to get the facts of a situation in a fair and unbiased manner.
So again, identify yourself as a citizen journalist before each and every interview. It will earn you credibility, respect and hopefully a following among your readers and/or viewers.
Susan Cormier is the head coach in charge of training at the National Association of Citizen Journalists (www.nacj.us) and co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (www.citizenjournalistnow.com).