Posted by: sdiaz05 | November 28, 2011

Citizen Journalist Credibility

Professional journalists regardless of who they work for are assumed to be credible and trained.  In the hiring process, they had to meet some professional standard in order to secure their job.  Therefore, regardless of whether the reader agreed with the journalist’s story, opinion or position, the journalist is at least seen as someone that is a trained professional.

“Citizen Journalists” on the other hand can be useful.  I’m sure many of them are trained and know what they are doing and can produce good work.  However their information is automatically wide open for speculation and questioning.  Their credibility is always in question, even if it’s a good story.  A good writer can make a story believable.

I was once working on a class project related to interpersonal communication in relationships.  In doing my research I ran into a blog that contained what appeared to be good content.  This blogger had a strong following.  I attempted to reach to owner of the blog and eventually made contact.  In our communication, I complimented his blog and work.  I asked him what his educational background was and what makes him a “relationship expert.”  He told me that he doesn’t have a formal background in interpersonal communications or relationships for that matter.  It was all opinion based on what he has experienced, seen others experience and informal untrained polls he takes.

I felt bad for his followers because many of them had genuine issues they were discussing and they appeared to believe what he posted.  Maybe that’s why they followed because they heard what they wanted to hear.  I un-friended him.

Someone else asked the question “How do you decide which sources are credible and which sources are not?”  That’s probably how.  You just have to chase them down and ask for their credentials, training and sources.

My questions:

Is it worth chasing down the credibility of a citizen journalist to decide if you will believe their story?

At what point to you give them credibility and start believing what they write?

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