Through the Eyes of Citizen Journalists

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703272876
Title: Through the Eyes of Citizen Journalists
Author: Wang, Xilong
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: This study aims to examine the difference between user-generated online video reports and professional TV news reports on covering the last rescued survivor Xiang Weiyi, widely referred in media as 'Little Yiyi', in 2011 Wenzhou bullet train accident in China. By comparing two different types of reports, this study focuses on several aspects, including the knowledge and skill in using camera and editing videos; the representation of experts and the general population; access to media materials and information sources; and style in narratives. Semiotic analysis is used in this study as the research method in order to compare and interpret video materials collected from online sources. Literature in this study includes discussions on theories of democracy, the media, and citizen journalism. Democracy and media theories provide knowledge in understanding the role of media and journalism in representing interests from different social groups in public discussion. Pluralistic viewpoints in news coverage, therefore, are argued to be crucial aspects in construction of public discussions that are capable of representing multiple social interests. Theories on citizen journalism provide knowledge of the nature of user-generated media content. By reviewing existing studies, this thesis argues that citizen journalism has the capability to provide additional viewpoints which are more likely to be ignored by the mainstream media due to reasons such as financial pressures and professional standards. Several studies on Chinese media system are also reviewed in this study in order to provide contextual information for the interpretation of data. Furthermore, discussions on video journalism and video witnessing are used to improve the interpretation of data. Results of this study show that citizen video reports are different from TV news videos. Citizen journalists are representing the news with a more subjective viewpoint and narration than professional TV news. Citizen journalists in China lack knowledge and skills in making and editing videos. They are able to report from a closer standpoint toward the community, but they cannot bring opinions from the community to their audience. Thus this study concludes that citizen journalists in China have not been able to bring different viewpoints into public discussion. However, they still have potential since it is shown that citizen journalists are aware of the importance of opinions from ordinary citizens.
URI: URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703272876
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/225718
Date: 2014
Discipline: Media and Communication Studies
Viestintä
Medier och kommunikation


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