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CultureReview
Let the World Hear Your Voice
Lee Eun-yeong  |  tnr1915@cau.ac.kr
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승인 2016.05.09  07:16:08
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  “It will be nice if I am on TV.” This is a line from the lyrics of a famous Korean children’s song. Many Koreans have experienced singing and listening to this song in childhood. Most of them have dreamed of appearing on TV singing a song, hosting a radio program, or getting published in a magazine at least once. However, most people usually realize that those things are possible only in their dreams while growing up. But now, those are not impossible things. You can host your own programs and make a magazine. In addition, many people around the world can watch and read them because citizen journalism will help you.

What Is Citizen Journalism?

Citizen journalism is small media created and managed by an individual. Another term for it is “street journalism,” which indicates that everyone who walks on the streets can be a reporter. It means that normal people share news and their own content with the citizens of the world through social networking sites such as blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and so on. In Korea, citizen journalism includes not only news reports, but also cultural contents. The initial form of it is posting photos of daily life on social media to share with acquaintances. Furthermore, there are professional Broadcasting Jockeys (BJs) who make an income out of posting videos on sites like YouTube and Africa TV that provide personal broadcasting services. As the popularity of citizen journalism is increasing, recently one of the major Korean broadcasters made a variety show program named ”My Little Television,” which borrows its form from citizen journalism.

What Gave Birth to Citizen Journalism?

Technology developments such as smartphones and the Internet are one of the most important factors giving rise to citizen journalism. In the past, most of what the public watched and listened to was driven only by mass media, which has an enormous sum of money, technical skills, and professional manpower. Normal people couldn’t express their opinions by themselves practically because they needed too much time and money. However, the Internet makes the whole world connected and smartphones help people to make videos and to take photos at a substantially lower cost. In addition, websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, which people use frequently all around the world, emerge continually. As a result, normal people can create their own content easily.

The change of awareness about the mass media also brings citizen journalism. People don’t blindly believe the mass media anymore because they realize that sometimes it is biased and exaggerated and it doesn’t report some social issues intentionally. Therefore, some people have begun to report social news by themselves through YouTube and podcasts. Another reason why citizen journalism appears is that as modern society has become complex and varied, the number of people who want to share their knowledge and skills with everyone is increasing.

 Starts of Korean Citizen Journalism

 Dae-doseogwan (Na Dong-hyun): Africa TV BJ and YouTuber

Na Dong-hyun, whose nickname is Dae-soseogwan, is one of the most famous people among young people. He communicates with people through Africa TV, a famous media platform in Korea, and YouTube. His contents are games. He plays and introduces various games that are recommended by viewers. The reasons for his success are that he has a gentle manner, that he doesn’t use any swear words in his videos, and that he is a witty man.

  Ji-sook: Power Blogger

Ji-sook is a member of “Rainbow,” one of the famous girl bands in Korea. In 2015, she was ranked 9th among power bloggers by NAVER, which is one of the biggest portal sites in Korea. She started to make blogs because she wanted to use her time wisely, especially during times when Rainbow is not releasing albums. She has many talents, such as cooking and assembling Gundam models, so she posts her own recipes and the processes of making things.

Ha Sang-wook: Poet On Social Media

Ha Sang-wook is well-known for writing poems on his social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. He had approximately 340,000 Twitter followers in March. His poems are optimized for social media. They usually have only 2~4 lines so they can catch people’s attention and their themes arouse sympathy from normal people. In addition, the totally unpredictable titles of the poems make readers laugh.

Citizen Journalism’s Light and Shadow

     Citizen journalism makes many changes. The biggest change is that it removes the barrier between producers and consumers. They immediately interact with each other and their communication makes much richer contents. Also everyone can deliver their voice to the world in various methods. Moreover, the diversification of information providers helps people to make more reasonable decisions.

However, it also has a dark side. The most serious problem is that so much information from unreliable sources is spreading thoughtlessly as a result of citizen journalism. Some vicious rumors have left people with indelible scars. In addition, nowadays the competition among citizen journalists has become so overheated that providers make suggestive and sadistic content to receive attention from more people. For example, recently, one user of Africa TV uploaded a video of driving a motorcycle by 180 km per hour.

          From now, you don’t have to be disappointed that broadcasters and newspapers don’t recognize you. It’s because you can make your own media with your cellphone and the Internet. Let’s have courage and show what you got to people all around the world. More people than you expect are ready to listen to your voice. You can express yourself and have a debate with them. However, before you start your own media, you should keep in your mind that you can’t take your words back and many people around the world can use your media. You have not only the right of citizen journalism, but also the responsibility for it.

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