The Importance of Citizen Journalists in New Media when Reporting on Catastrophes

By Ziqi (Nina) Zhuang.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: December 2, 2014 $US5.00

Along with the popularity of citizen journalism, this study was designed to consider the importance of citizen journalists in new media by testing whether messages posted by citizen journalists are perceived as more credible than news post by professional journalists when reporting on catastrophes. Uses and Gratification theory was also applied to analyze citizen journalists’ motivations. There were 48 students from a Midwestern university participating in this study. News Credibility Measures (NCM) were used to examine the hypothesis regarding citizen journalist and professional journalist credibility. Results indicated that there was significant difference between citizen journalist credibility and professional journalist credibility. Thus, citizen journalists, in some specific situations such as during catastrophes, were more credible than professional journalists. This unexpected result will arouse news industry’s attention to discover ways to develop and coordinate both citizen journalists and professional journalists in terms of providing abundant timely news sources. Further studies should consider more contexts to compare the credibility of citizen journalists and professional journalists.

Keywords: Photo Journalism, Social Media

The Global Studies Journal, Volume 7, Issue 3, December 2014, pp.21-39. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: December 2, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 503.224KB)).

Ziqi (Nina) Zhuang

Graduate Student, Communication Studies Department, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS, USA


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