This is a paper I wrote for my History of American Journalism class that used something from the past to relate to a piece of news that is relevant today.

Can citizen journalism be taken as seriously as professional journalism? With the increase in technology and social media, citizen journalism is ever growing and news can be accessed at a greater speed, from a whole range of perspectives.
People who have been considered part of the audience can now join the world of journalism. Anyone in the world is now able to publicly publish their thoughts and accounts of anything they like. Journalism is no longer limited. The popular social network, "Twitter", sees thousands of stories posted regularly and once enough people are talking about the same thing, it becomes "trending" and the subject is automatically seen by everyone using the site. But the use of the internet was not the first sign of citizen journalism.
As far back as 1690 when the first newspaper in the colonies was published in the Colonial era, it included a blank page to allow readers to write their own news and then pass it on for others to read. This newspaper, known as ‘Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick’, published by Benjamin Harris was one of the earliest signs of citizen journalism, and although it was not a huge success it shows the public’s opinion and accounts have mattered previously. The major difference now is that media has enabled the spread of such journalism. You no longer have to work for a newspaper or magazine for your work to be read by millions.
Many people may believe that their writing would not matter or make a difference, but there are various citizen journalists who have written about major events and had a huge impact on not only improving the immediacy of the information being released to the world but also giving a completely different view on the event.
In crime stories, police and news stations have relied on citizens’ material to keep up-to-date with current situations. In April 2013, during the chase for the suspects of the Boston Marathon bombings, video clips, pictures, tweets and blogs taken or published by residents in the area were used to retrieve recent information on the case. Similarly in England, during the August 2011 riots, suspects were caught with the help of images posted by citizens. Videos of rioters fighting with police were posted online.
Citizen journalism has moved a long way from being someone’s scribble in the back of a newspaper that only lasted one issue. It can achieve success. Of course, with citizen journalism applying to all citizens, not all opinions and accounts are as useful or reliable and there may be offensive material. The internet is known for its vast material, not all of which should be taken seriously or even acknowledged, but citizen journalism has been proven worthy.
It can also take the shape of storytelling. People can tell their own stories for the world to read. At the age of 10, Sam Wessells won an award for his CNN report on autism. He helped spread awareness for autism by not only telling his own story but how it can affect others in even worse ways.
Citizen journalism may not be professional but it can certainly be inspirational and worthy.