As Tucson's traditional daily newspapers slide into oblivion, citizen journalism is flourishing and becoming more influential.
Just 10 short years ago, if you wanted your story in the news, you had to court reporters from the Arizona Daily Star, the Tucson Citizen, and the three local network television affiliates. News directors, editors, and reporters all had some level of control over what stories were distributed to the public, how the stories were told, and which outlets covered what types of stories. In addition, since these traditional journalists generally had some college training in the profession, the public was guaranteed a level of quality and accuracy, which is not always seen today. (Thanks in part to Faux News.)
The Internet and blogging have blown the doors off of the journalism profession.
Yes, the accuracy of Internet "journalism" is often sketchy.
Yes, journalists, who have been traditionally under-paid, are now often unpaid.
And, yes, unfortunately, this projected lack of income is discouraging young writers from seeking journalism degrees.
But, citizen journalists are not beholden to corporate media giants, and independent journalism is as important to our democracy as it has ever been. Blogging combined with social media and the lack of corporate restraint have given us lightening-speed, worldwide distribution of ideas and news that would have languished in obscurity just a few years ago.
As hardcore news disappears from network and cable "news" shows and newspapers die a slow death nationwide, citizen journalists have stepped in to fill the communication void. In some ways, the rise of citizen journalism has taken us back to the days of Thomas Paine and Ben Franklin, when pamphleteers distributed political commentary and ideas directly to the people.
In Tucson, we are fortunate to have a strong group of progressive citizen journalists who regularly provide news and ideas that will never be distributed through the corporate media. Here are a few...
Blog for Arizona by Mike Brian, Dave Safier, and the AZ Blue Meanie
Poco Bravo by Luke Knipe
The Tucson Citizen and the Tucson Sentinel-- two blogging collectives that grew out of the demise of the Tucson Citizen print newspaper.
The prolific Hugh A. Holub, who has several blogs, including:
- The View from Baja Arizona
- Tucson Independent Examiner
- Down by the Border.
And, of course, moi. I also write under several blog titles:
- Tucson Progressive Examiner
- Tucson Baby Boomer Examiner
- Tucson Sustainable Living Examiner
- Muse Views.
Granted, finding the news is more complicated than sitting down with a cup of coffee and the print daily, but the possibilities are endless-- and just a click away.