Reading Response 2

Free Labour and Citizen Journalists Conflicts

Reading Response 2:


With the expansion of cameras and social media, reporting on live events in your area has never been easier, but with lots of work there can sometimes be disputes between paid and unpaid labour.  Questions surrounding the definition of labour and what defines the “free” aspect and what line can be drawn between doing a hobby and doing something you wish to earn money off of.  The importance of context of photographs and how they portray events is also important in understanding the world around us.

The first reading to look into was the “Visual truths of citizen reportage: four research problematics”.  The reading depicts how news ever since 2004 and the South Asian tsunami of December 2004, citizen journalism gained its reputation in the news. With a lack of correspondents on the ground, news outlets relied heavily on citizen journalists. The notion that anyone with a smart phone can be a citizen journalists by capturing and spreading their media has become popular.  It offers news outlets an alternative from sending their own staff to the locations when they can just pull pictures from twitter and other social media for a more cost effective story. The article also elaborates that even when we see imagery from across the world of tragedies and other various disasters we lack the empathy and are only viewing a two minute video of a disaster.   It does not allow us to connect with the other people across the world just through photographs or videos and makes it hard to relate to and almost makes it seem as though its not real when in our real time we are on a laptop viewing a disaster that costed lives. I found it interesting in the article how it pulls recent examples such as Ferguson and ISIS videos that show only a sample size of what is really happening. I learned that with new technology our ability to spread news of live events that happened is becoming easier and easier, but at the cost of lacking empathy for those involved.  The readings relate to free labour and how the people making the videos are not getting paid to make them or submit their footage usually. The article also reaches back to our discussions in week 3 on citizen journalism.

My second reading to discuss was the “iReporting” an Uprising: CNN and Citizen journalism in Network Culture.  As discussed previously with the growth in technology and ability for nearly everyone to take videos and pictures as they please with better quality, bigger news outlets incorporate the citizen journalism aspect more and more.  With this growth it spawned the iReport on CNN. The article emphasizes how CNN now essentially relies on unpaid labour when covering events especially in different countries where they cannot send their own staff to report on.  iReport is an important that demonstrates the possibilities of citizen journalists and the ability to extract information from people without paying them or paying staff to report on that situation at said time in a location. The example used in the article was the Iranian protest and the tracking of phones by Nokia, who proudly stood by the fact they provided the phones, but vanished when approached with the tracking issue. I learned that in an attempt to map the world using citizen journalists it comes at a cost.  Corruption was rampant in the case of Nokia with iReporters not being able to report on the Nokia Siemans scandal.

The last reading I will dive into is the Weblog Ethics. Ethics plays an important role in our everyday lives in our decision making and our influence to others.  Blogs revolve around ethics because of the personal touch to them and it is important to stay ethically and morally correct when producing a blog. The blog discusses different methods for producing a well thought out and accurate blog.  It discusses that if there is speculation on a subject matter it is important to say so and not let the reader assume its fact.  It is also important to link and cite your sources online to give credit when it is due. A disagreement that stuck out to me was how some bloggers see themselves as exempt from stating what is opinion and getting fact checked, but the author encourages us to get our facts straight and cite sources.  I also found it important that on a blog she mentions using not questionable or biased sources. This is important to keep your blog neutral and open for discussion and thought rather than being one sided and not accepting the other view. I learned it is important to remain unbiased, cite sources, state what is speculation with yourself and what is fact, and lastly finalize each entry before submission and do not delete or rewrite over any. The readings relate directly to our understanding of citizen journalism and reporting on our own stories as well as us starting our own blogs and making posts.  It is important to follow these guidelines to have a successful and fair blog.

Technologies forever change our experience in gathering the news.  With new ways of gathering the news comes new ways of reporting on it with smart phones and personal sites/blogs. Labour is an important topic more than ever with the concern people are doing the same work as some reporters, but getting paid nothing for it.  Major news companies are taking advantage of this and rely heavily upon citizen journalists of other countries for situations in which they cannot get feet on the ground from cost expense. Discussions will ensue in determining what defines the free labour section and how citizen journalists can get credit for their work.



Rebecca’s pocket. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from


Lindsay Palmer.(2012) “iReporting an Uprising: CNN and Citizen Journalism in Network


Stuart Allan and Chris Peters(2015) (“Visual Truths of Citizen Reportage: Four Research Problematics”