Posts Tagged ‘Mainstream Media’

Journalists exposed for their biased coverage of England riots

News outlets need to be held to account for their coverage of the headline-hitting English riots, a new report has argued.

Media and the Riots: A Call for Action, published on the first anniversary of the Tottenham, north London, riot which took place last August, is the first report to examine the impact of the mainstream print and broadcast media’s reporting on the communities most affected.

The report, written by University of Leicester sociologist Dr Leah Bassel, reflects the views of those people who attended the Media and the Riots conference held by the Citizen Journalism Educational Trust and in November.

Read more about the Media and the Riots – A Call For Action report on The-Latest.Com:

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Issue of Defamation Overlooked by Some

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a blogger could not receive protections granted to mainstream journalists because she was not affiliated with a mainstream media outlet.

While the ruling does have implications for citizen journalists and bloggers, the heart of the case revolved around defamation – a claim that isn’t protected by shield laws and that doesn’t make a distinction on the writer’s status.

To me, those folks who focus on the question of whether a blogger is legally a journalist are missing the point. The point is:  Were the blogger’s reports true or false? In this case, a man’s reputation was damaged and the blogger appeared to have made no effort to prove her statements. This amounts to reckless disregard for the truth.

Here’s a little bit of the history: Kevin Padrick, an Oregon attorney involved in a bankruptcy case, sued Montana blogger Cynthia Cox for defamation after she called him a “thug” and a “thief” in her blog.

U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez ruled that Cox was not a journalist because she had no professional qualifications as a journalist and did not work for a legitimate news outlet. She did not have a journalism education or credentials, and failed to provide evidence she produced an independent product, tried to get both sides of the story or adhered to journalistic standards such as checking her facts.

Because she was not a journalist under the law, the judge ruled she could not claim protections, such as the shield law, granted to mainstream media. But the judge also noted that the shield law does not apply to civil actions for defamation.

Here’s where Cox went wrong. She disregarded the issue of libel, which is defamation or injury to someone’s personal reputation and good name. It’s an issue that should be taken very seriously by every individual, but especially by journalists – whether they are members of the mainstream media, bloggers or citizen journalists.

Cox’s allegations that Padrick was a “thug” and a “thief” who “committed tax fraud” were never proven, according to a piece written by The New York Times’ David Carr.

That means Cox published the defamatory statements in her blog with reckless disregard for the truth or actual malice, which is probably what opened the door for a jury on Nov. 29 to award $2.5 million in the case.

There’s a good lesson to be learned here for all journalists, but especially citizen journalists and bloggers, who don’t deal with libel on a regular basis. Be careful in your reporting and word use. Avoid labeling someone in a way that his or her reputation could be damaged. Finally, don’t disregard the truth or write with malice.

Susan Cormier is the co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (

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12 2011

Italian national daily launches citizen journalism section

The Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica launched a special section within their website dedicated to citizen journalism.

The initiative is part of a wider project, started in July 2011, aimed at investigating topics proposed by the newspaper’s audience: mafia issues, corruption in the political elites, the garbage scandal and healthcare disservices are only some of the themes covered by Repubblica so far.

The citizen journalism portal is a significant step toward the recongnition of the importance of this emergent field by the Italian mainstream media industry. A previous attempt was represented by the TV program Citizenreport aired on the state owned channel RAI 3 and was unfortunately discontinued after the first series.

The episodes can still be accessed via RAI tv but the program’s website, with all its highly interesting content, has been switched off.

Citizen journalists’ from Italy, or everyone who wishes to expose wrongdoings, share news and facts about the country, are invited to send their contributions to La Repubblica’s Visual Desk,


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10 2011

Mainstream Media Depending on Citizen Journalism in Pakistan

Regarding the tragic flooding in Pakistan, reports that mainstream media, which mostly relies on “helicopter journalism” is sourcing citizen journalists who are covering the story from the ground. Citizen’s Eye, founded by Mudassar Khan, had a network of citizen journalists already in place when infrastructure made penetration into the disaster area nearly impossible.

Of the dynamic, Khan states, “‘Citizen journalists are more vocal whereas professional journalists are more resourceful.’”

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08 2010