Darren Barefoot talks a little about the difference between citizen journalists and beat or investigative reporters, and suggests a couple of methods that can be used right now to mitigate the risks of losing those supported roles:
We’re covering stories. But how often are we uncovering them? […]
- There are examples of an emerging kind of citizen statistician, who uses access to open governmental data to uncover political or corporate malfeasance.
- Another solution is to divide the work of one journalist among 15 citizen journalists, and have each of them attend four town hall meetings a year. Collaborative tools make this approach possible if challenging.
The more I think about it, the investigative citizen journalists of the 21st century are the activists of the 20th. They care enough about a particular topic to dig into it with enough effort and fervor to uncover new truths.