‘Unaccountable Monkeys With Typewriters”

A while back, I wrote about Citizen Journalism, and its prevalence during the natural disaster of Cyclone Debbie. Increasingly, we are seeing everyday members of society taking to social media to report a first hand account of the world around us – and increasingly we, as media consumers, are turning to this as a source of information.

However it is interesting to consider the ethical concerns associated with this phenomenon. While journalists have traditionally held a mixed reputation with regard to their truth and accuracy, Mahoney argues that now, “any idiot with a Twitter account can spray wild claims all over the world with no accountability”, and that “there are too many unaccountable monkeys with typewriters”.

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So how worried should we really be about citizen journalism? In my opinion, this phenomenon is completely irreversible, and it is up to us as consumers and producers media to carefully observe and “fact check” the news stories we are presented with. But this is much harder than it sounds, and to be honest, for an often busy, complacent, and blasé student like myself, this already sounds pretty difficult.

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Published by susiealdermann

Fifth Year Bachelor of Communications and Media/ Bachelor of International Studies (Dean's Scholar) student

3 thoughts on “‘Unaccountable Monkeys With Typewriters”

  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog post! You explained the concept extremely well and the example, plus the quote you used helped further my understanding. I completely agree with the Cyclone Debbie example you discussed. A lot of footage from that event and similar ones that is shown on news reports and social media, is taken by regular people who have just pulled out their mobile phone or camera! I also think the meme you included is great!
    Here is the link to an article that gives a great overview on citizen journalism, and a few very interesting examples!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi. In this blog post, you mention the ethical concerns associated with citizen journalism requiring us as consumers and producers to carefully fact-check and observe news stories to reach for accountability, which sounds pretty hard and difficult in the face of laziness. However, in my opinion, even without citizen journalism, we are still exposed to the ethical concerns over accountability in legacy media. As gatekeepers provide neatly-packed digestible information in the form of stories, these stories may distort the truths or take on biased and misleading perspectives. As a result, with legacy media, we as consumers still feel the need to investigate different sources to find the objective truth. Therefore, I think if you could compare how the process of sorting through information in the context of citizen journalism is different from that in the context of legacy media, thereby pointing out how difficult it is to fact-check citizen journalism, that would be great. Also, I would like to ask why you think that gatewatching in the face of citizen journalism is hard, as I think one of the main features of the internet is collective intelligence, which means the process of aggregating and curating is happening ongoingly and naturally across networks. Particularly, if you just scroll down network newsfeeds, such as Facebook’s or Twitter’s, you would be easily exposed to an abundance of information to compare, especially when that matter is trending. In this way, it is citizen journalism that could also solve the issue of citizen journalism that you mention. I would recommend you take advantage of this by going to aggregative sites, such as Reddit, each time you want to fact-check something, in order to be exposed to a variety of articles and individual perspectives. I think this article: https://turbofuture.com/internet/-Sites-like-Reddit would inform you of many helpful sites for you to go to. I would love to hear from you. Thank you!


  3. Hey, was the content that you created for this post the meme at the bottom? I found it hard to find which image/gif relates to your concept. Otherwise, I think you’ve explained the concept well and in regards to your question – I believe we shouldn’t be so worried about citizen journalism, but it definitely has its dangers. If we look at the issue in terms of the pros and cons of gatekeepers v gatewatchers – the dialogic style of journalism which is very prevalent on the internet greatly benefits the audience as they are able to participate in the discussion, add their own content, and form their own ideas. However, just as bias journalism is an issue with legacy media because of the filtering of content, the lack of filtering of content on the internet can result in misleading information because there are no gatekeepers to verify the information. This article explains the dangers of citizen journalism – http://nymag.com/selectall/2016/10/citizen-journalism-is-a-catastrophe-itll-only-get-worse.html. How do you personally combat ‘fake news’?


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