According to many, one of the negative aspects of citizen journalism is that it is not as regulated as its traditional counterpart – after all, citizen journalists (e.g. bloggers and messageboard or discussion forum posters) generally aren’t considered as reliable as more professional journalists.
While that’s not necessarily a bad thing – all journalists should carefully vet their sources anyways, it’s given citizen journalism a somewhat undeserved bad name, because really, just because someone is a professional doesn’t automatically mean they are perfectly ethical (in an ideal world, yes, however, that is sadly not the case, although they certainly are more credible than an anonymous internet source).
However, as citizen journalism keeps gaining ground on the web, the question of ethics comes up, as well as one of regulation. Is there even any way to set a basic standard for online, independent journalists? First of all, if you have any ideas in that department, you should check out and enter the Knight News Challenge, especially if your plans are of a smaller scale (realistically, it’s not like anyone can regulate the entire internet). Secondly, Tim McGuire of McGuire on Media has posted an interesting piece about ethics, the current state of journalism, and the business of journalism, and how it all goes together. Perhaps it will inspire your entry!