I’m not a big fan of the term “citizen journalism”. As I’ve said, adopting the label “journalist” will inevitably annoy those who think they are the “real journalists”. And we’re all citizens anyway, even curmudgeonly journalists.
But I haven’t though of anything better. Neither has anyone else yet, so we’re stuck with it. We might as well agree on what it means.
As usual, Wikipedia provides some good background. But Jay Rosen recently repeated his Most Useful Definition of Citizen Journalism:
It’s mine, but it should be yours. Can we take the quote marks off now? Can we remove the “so-called” from in front?
When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, that’s citizen journalism.
There are other definitions, but they will have to be discussed in the comments.
I used quote-marks in my headline and first paragraph because I believe that’s how you denote the item of language you’re discussing. But from now on, I’ll use the term “citizen journalism” without quotes — except just then, because I was denoting again.
Does this definition work for you? Got a better name for it?