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How Not To Treat Citizen Journalists Like Dirt

These days, reporting the news effectively and competitively would be virtually impossible without the powerful contributions of amateurs who witness major news developments — especially the ones that happen where professional journalists aren't.
Given their valuable role in the newsgathering process, are we treating citizen journalists the way we should?
Join a pair of veteran social journalists — Eric Carvin of The Associated Press and Jennifer Preston of The New York Times — in a wide-ranging conversation on the responsibilities news organizations have to citizen journalists. They'll bring up everything from credit and permissions for user-generated content to working with amateurs who may find themselves reporting in dangerous or even life-threatening circumstances.
Anyone who's ever been a citizen journalist is encouraged to contribute to the conversation, as are fellow professional journalists and interested members of the public.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What responsibilities do professional journalists have to their amateur counterparts?
  2. How important are permissions and credit when using user-generated news content? Are there situations where those standards might be relaxed, such as with particularly urgent news?
  3. How do you balance high standards around social journalism with the competitive need for speed when a story is developing quickly?
  4. Are news organizations responsible for the safety of amateur contributors of information or content? If citizen journalists are putting themselves in danger to share content with news organizations, should professional journalists tell them to stop?
  5. Under what circumstances should journalists NOT reach out to potential amateur contributors over social networks?



Eric Carvin, Social Media Editor, Associated Press

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